Number of natural flood management schemes set to rise

Leaky log-jams on the River Stour which help to slow the flow and trap fine sediment PIC: Environme

Leaky log-jams on the River Stour which help to slow the flow and trap fine sediment PIC: Environment Agency - Credit: Archant

The use of natural flood management schemes to protect properties in East Anglia is likely to become more commonplace, according to the Environment Agency’s flood risk manager for the region.

PIC: Environment Agency

PIC: Environment Agency - Credit: Archant

Speaking at an industry event earlier this week, Peta Denham pointed to the Government’s 25-year environment plan, published in January, which calls for the use of natural flood management schemes to be expanded.

She said the type of activities being looked at include lowering river banks so that water flows over them and reconnects with flood plains; laying debris, such as fallen trees, in rivers to slow water and catch sediment; creating offline storage ponds and the expansion of existing flood plains.

She said the ambition is to “reduce flood risk and also increase natural habitats”.

Ms Denham said Defra had already launched a number of pilots across the country - seven of which are at the planning stage in locations in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

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These include a project in Debenham in Suffolk and a scheme in Roxwell, a village near Chelmsford in Essex, which has flooded in the past and last year was allocated £50,000 so the community can work with local landowners to help slow the flow of water down to the brook in the village.

Ms Denham said that currently around 3/4 million properties across the UK are at risk of flooding and if nothing is done this number will increase to 1.3m in 50 years’ time.

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She was speaking at the Anglian Eastern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) Annual Review event held at Trinity Park in Ipswich on Wednesday.

The RFCC is a body made up of local authority representatives and other members appointed by the Environment Agency to identify and manage flood and coastal erosion risks, and allocate funding to projects.

The event was opened by Anglian Eastern RFCC chairman Paul Hayden who said the committee is interested in supporting a range of projects regardless of their size or scope.

“We want to make sure that the projects that are important to local communities don’t fall off the edge,” he said.

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