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Phiala Mehring


Research projects

Get your water out of my lounge: Understanding institutional constructions and public perceptions of flooding and flood risk management

The aim of this thesis is to understand institutional constructions and public perceptions of flooding in order to facilitate engagement between the institutions that manage flood risk and the communities living at risk of flooding.

The objectives are three-fold:

  • to understand how flooding and flood risk management are constructed, represented and communicated to the public and managed by institutions - Mehring, P., Geoghegan, H., Cloke, H. & Clark, J. (2018). What is going wrong with community engagement? How flood communities and flood authorities construct engagement and partnership working. Environment Science and Policy, 89, 109-115
  • to assess the potential of an integrated catchment based approach to flood risk management linking the public and institutions to examine how flooding and flood risk management are perceived, interpreted, responded to, owned, that is, constructed by the institutions that manage flood risk
  • to examine how flooding and flood risk management are perceived, interpreted, responded to, owned, that is, constructed by people at risk of flooding (proposed Apps and Maps research and subsequent research paper).

Phiala is undertaking her PhD under the umbrella of the twenty65 and LANDWISE projects:

  • LANDWISE (LAND management in loWland catchments for Integrated flood riSk rEduction), Environmental Research Council (NERC)’s funded research project seeking to understand the Effectiveness of Natural Flood Management (NFM) programme.
  • twenty65 - working in partnership across the water sector to tailor water systems so that they positively impact health, the environment, the economy and society. Phiala is a member of the group and presented at the 2018 conference and is presenting at the rescheduled 2020 conference.




Phiala and a group of her former neighbours formed Loddon Valley Residents Association (LVRA) in response to the large 2007 flood event and subsequent local events in 2008 and 2009.

From the outset LVRA has worked closely, chairing regular meetings with, Wokingham Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, the National Flood Forum, Loddon Fisheries conservation Consultative (LFCC) and other Wokingham based flood groups seeking ways to reduce local flood risk.

It is through contact with LFCC that LVRA started to appreciate the importance of achieving multiple benefits and working with nature when managing flood risk. This more integrative and catchment-based approach to managing flooding led Phiala to become involved with the setup of Loddon Catchment Partnership (CaBA group) for which she now sits on the steering group.

Phiala is the Vice Chair of the National Flood Forum and is committed to ensuring that flood communities are at the heart of flood risk management. She believes that this can only be achieved through equitable partnership working with the various stakeholders and institutions within Flood Risk Management.

Phiala sits on the Thames Regional Flood and Coast committee representing the many voices of flood communities.

As with many flood groups the above is achieved through voluntary work. Phiala’s day job is as a Research Director working for a FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods – anything you can buy in a supermarket) research agency: MMR Research Worldwide, managing teams based in the UK, Singapore and China.

Flood risk management roles:


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