Skip to main content

Data from: Were the floods in the UK 2007 and Germany 2013 game-changers?

Cite this dataset

Platt, Stephen (2019). Data from: Were the floods in the UK 2007 and Germany 2013 game-changers? [Dataset]. Dryad.


This dataset concerns recovery after major floods in the UK 2007 and Germany 2013. It contains two sheets. The first sheet contains data from a survey of residents and local businesses in Catcliffe, between Sheffield and Rotherham in South Yorkshire and in Dreiflüsse-Eck, the “Three Rivers Corner” in Passau in Bavaria conducted in late 2018 and early 2019. The second sheet conatisn data from a survey with flood experts in the UK and Germany. 

The two events were comparable in terms of impacts, levels of preparedness and government response and show similar patterns of speed and quality of recovery. The two case study areas are similar in size and were amongst places most badly hit in each country. Both floods were considered to be "game-changers" and resulted in a heightened awareness of flood risk, increased investment in flood defences and an increasing emphasis on citizens taking more responsibility for flood preparedness. 


Survey of residents and businesses

Interview surveys were conducted with people living or working in two places badly affected by the floods ­ Sheffield in South Yorkshire, UK and Passau in Bavaria, Germany. Within these cities residential areas in the flooded zones near the river were chosen because people there were more likely to have experienced flooding or be aware of the risks. Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed lived within 1 km of the river that flooded (65% UK; 63% Germany) and about half had experienced being flooded (44% UK; 55% Germany). In Sheffield, Catcliffe, a village close to the River Rother between Sheffield and Rotherham was targeted. Although Sheffield city-centre was flooded very few people still live there. Sheffield has undergone huge economic changes in the past 12 years and few people working in businesses in 2007 would have still been there at the time of the survey in 2018. In contrast, in Passau many people still live in the historic centre and Dreiflüsse-Eck, the “Three Rivers Corner”, was targeted. Although Catcliffe is a low-density commuter village and Dreiflüsse-Eck is in the historic centre of Passau both areas are of similar size, 30-37 ha. They also had similar populations, 2,100 and 2,990 and similar age profiles. In Catcliffe 52% of properties were flooded and in Dreiflüsse-Eck approximately 70% were flooded. We used maps of flooded areas to identify households and businesses to target for interview in advance and we also made appointments by telephone to meet and interview people working in local organisations affected by the flooding, including the library, church, cafes, the supermarket, bars, garages, and the cinema. Over 90% of the surveys were conducted face-to-face with residents and local business people who had experienced some level of flooding. The interviews in Catcliffe were conducted over four days in early November 2018 and in Three Rivers Corner over five days in early April 2019. In both countries, native language speakers who were familiar with the flood risk management supported the interviewer, a non-native speaker, to make sure there were no misunderstandings. 

Although the sample sizes were relatively small (32 in Catcliffe and 74 in Three Rivers Corner) they are fairly representative of the populations living in both places. In the Catcliffe 44% of respondents were female compared to 62% in Passau.  In the Sheffield 51% of inhabitants were female and in Passau 52%. In Catcliffe 76% of respondents travelled to work by car compared to 37% in Germany.  This corresponds roughly with the modal split in the two places; in 2018 60% travelled to work by car in the Sheffield City Region and 51% travelled by car in Passau. The educational level of people surveyed in Catcliffe was also very similar to that of adults in Rotherham and Sheffield. 


Surveys of flood experts

Separate surveys, with more detailed questions, were also conducted with recognised flood experts in each country. These included environment agency personnel, insurance assessors, academics, and flood risk management consultants. 150 experts were contacted by email in the UK, 27 responded, a response rate of 18% and in Germany 110 experts were contacted and 21 responded, a response rate of 19%. Participants were asked how long it took for different aspects of society, including permanent housing, the economy and critical infrastructure, to get back to normal, defined here as a 90% return to the pre-disaster state or a new stable norm?  Experts were asked specific questions about the speed and quality of recovery.

1  How long did it take or will it take for the aforementioned sectors to recover 90% or more or to get to a new stable norm?

2  How have the aforementioned sectors changed compared to before the disaster?  (5-point scale, much worse to much better plus don't know).

They were also asked questions about the impact of the disaster, the role and performance of the state, the impact of insurance sector on the speed of recovery, and finally about the amount and speed of funding. Statistical tests were used to measure the significance of the results.  For ordinal data, for example impact and vulnerability, the non-parametric Mann-Whitney U test for two sample cases was used. The Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA was applied to multiple samples, for example to compare quality of recovery in different sectors. For interval data, for example speed of recovery, the T-test was used.

Usage notes

This is a simple Excel file. There are some missing values.


Graduate Funding from the German States (LGF)