Rachel Betson

Photograph of Rachel Betson.PhD Student
BSc in Physical Geography and MSc in Food and Water Security


Email: reb34@aber.ac.uk
Office: E12


Innovative Flood Risk Management Techniques: Assessing the Potential of Vegetation and River Restoration

Supervisor(s): Dr Paul Brewer, Prof Stephen Tooth, Dr Hywel Griffiths


My first two degrees were both carried out in Aberystwyth University. I first undertook a BSc in Physical Geography and then an MSc in Food and Water Security. My undergraduate dissertation was assessing the extent of contamination from historic mining as a result of the 2012 floods in West Wales. The results from this were subsequently used in a paper published in 2014.

My PhD project is monitoring the effects of Large Woody Debris (LWD) and peatbog restoration within steep, urban catchments. As this is a KESS-funded project, I am working with NRW who initially started the project. Historically, LWD was seen as a nuisance to rivers, blocking navigation and fish migration, and as a potential flood risk. It is becoming increasingly apparent that this is not the case and with careful management, it is possible for LWD to be used, in conjunction with other techniques, to restore rivers and reduce the flood risk.

Group affiliation

Earth Surface Processes Research Group

Source of Funding


Research Interests

  1. Novel flood risk management techniques
  2. Understanding the role of vegetation in river restoration
  3. Understanding the impact of LWD on a channel’s morphology and flow hydraulics


S.A. Foulds, P.A. Brewer, M.G. Macklin, W. Haresign, R.E. Betson, S.M.E. Rassner. (2014). Flood-related contamination in catchments affected by historical metal mining: an unexpected and emerging hazard of climate change.  The Science of the Total Environment. 476-477: 165-180.

S.A. Foulds, P.A. Brewer, M.G. Macklin, R.E. Betson, S.M.E. Rassner (2012). Causes and consequences of a large summer storm and flood in west Wales, 8th-9th June 2012. fluvio report No. 2012/01/73.