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The on-line magazine for the water management industry

Spring

and its environment

2014

All hands to the pumps in Somerset - page 16

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Contents FLOOD RISK

The Humber after the tidal surge

12

The ‘Chertsey Sausage’

23

Flood - Examine History - David Noble

5

Flood review will look to prioritise flood defence investment in Wales

6

Delays to reducing flood risk is outrageous - Paul Cobbing, NFF

7

Tackling flooding should be a National Priority - Paul Cobbing, NFF

7

The Infrastructure Spending Plan

8-9

Defra announces an additional £130m for Flood Defence

10

An additional £6.7m made available for flood recovery funding

11

The largest tidal surge for 60 years

12 - 15

All hands to the Pumps in Somerset

16

Wildlife organisations call for a more flood- resilient future for the Somerset Levels

17

The Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan

18 - 19

New Flood Recovery Guide to support victims through the clean-up - Mary Dhonau, Know your flood Risk

20 - 21

Emergency mobile flood response - ‘The Chertsey Sausage’!

23

Emergency response to Tidal Surge - Land & Water

24 - 25

New ‘Milestone’ Maps for Flooding - SEPA

26

Warrington Flood Defence Scheme proves it’s worth

27

STORMWATER & SuDS

Time to Get Real about Surface Water Management

30

Have We Lost Sight of our Founding Principles? - Alex Stephenson

28 - 29

Get Real about Surface Water Management - Sharon Lindsay

30 - 31

New flood maps include the risk from surface water flooding - EA

32 - 33

Learning from SuDS North of the Border - Sharon Lindsay

34 - 35

Flood Prevention & Planning Action - Tom Hodson

36

RIVER RESTORATION & MANAGEMENT

The Witham Restoration

42

The latest version of the Riverside guide

37

River Restoration in Europe: The art of the possible - ECRR

38

First England River Prize launched - RRC

39 - 40

New lake bed Aquaerator reduces long term water

40

Restoration of the River Witham - Steve Brayshaw

42 - 45

River of Life - Phase One complete

46 - 47

Fish Friendly Flood Relief to North America - Lucy Ogden

48 - 49

A new wildlife habitat at Medmerry for the endangered water vole - Richard Edwards

50 - 51

Contact

New wetland habitat at Medmerry

50

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Flood Risk


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Flood Risk David Noble, OBE

David Noble spent a career spanning over 50 years in the flood defence and land drainage business, within the public sector and in running his own specialist consultancy, including the provision of services to the Association of Drainage Authorities, acting as it's Chief Executive. Davids' contribution to the service was recognised with the award of an OBE in 2002.

Flooding - Examine History It was Winston Churchill who said ‘The further you look back in history the more able you are to predict the future’, Advice which the Environment Agency, and other managers of the nation’s infrastructure would do well to heed. One of the worst inland flood events on record is that which occurred in March 1947, it was widespread affecting most of the larger river systems. On many sections of major rivers those flood levels have not been exceeded, and indeed the Environment Agency still use the levels to influence its’ planning policy and to produce flood comparison data. Whilst in some riverside locations the 1947 flood levels have not been approached it is highly likely that the actual flood flows, not widely and accurately measured at that time, have been reached and even exceeded. To understand the disparity between river flow and flood level can be understood by following Churchill’s advice. During the 1920’s and 30’s the plight of the nation was such that river management was not a spending priority, and whilst there was a wake-up call in 1937 with serious flooding taking place, the advent of war resulted in the only drainage works undertaken was that under War-Ag schemes to safeguard the country’s food production. By 1947 the river systems were in a totally neglected condition, lowland rivers were in a heavily silted condition, bank side vegetation had encroached into channels with fallen trees forming dams and obstructing bridges. Many

structures such as weirs and sluices had been unattended and the capacity to convey flows severely impaired. In short the river systems were in no condition to carry the flows generated by thaw, rain and snow melt and the 1947 flood was written in the record books. In more recent times, since 1974, when the former river authorities were merged into the large multifunctional water authorities, there has been a planned reduction in the amount of river dredging carried out, uncontrolled bankside vegetation abounds, and fallen trees tolerated, as more money is spent protecting specific areas, against what are often hyperthetical floods, rather than experienced events, subsequently the overall flood risk to large areas increases due to this lack of maintenance.

“The proposal to further reduce the Environment Agency’s expenditure on maintenance conveys a lack of understanding of the situation”

In my operational days in river management, the view was taken that the first task was to ensure that no party carried out ill-advised work in and alongside rivers which could increase flood risk. Secondly was to ensure the systems, including structures and channels were able to operate in an efficient way, and not vulnerable to excesses of debris being transferred downstream when the flood flows arrived. Thirdly, and with funds available was to provide improved protection to areas at significant flood risk. The proposal to further reduce the Environment Agency’s expenditure on maintenance conveys a lack of understanding of the situation, and how in the future, we will look back on this period of neglect, as they did in 1947, and face the consequences.

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Flood Risk & Drainage

Flood review will look to prioritise flood defence investment in Wales

Alun Davies said: “Last week we saw some of the worst conditions that Wales has experienced in over 20 years and my sympathies are very much with those affected.

Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Alun Davies has ordered a review into recent flood events, which will be led by Natural Resources Wales. The review will look at the flood events that hit Wales both at the beginning of December and again at the beginning of January, and will cover all coastal authorities in Wales. The Minister also explained that the review would be carried out in two phases. The first phase, to be completed by the end of January 2014, will be a swift review of the impacts of the flood events and will assess the state of Wales’ coastal defences following the recent storms. The second phase will look into the wider lessons learnt from the December and January flood events and the flood risk management in the affected areas. The intention, subject to further incidents of flooding, is that a report on the second phase will be available by April 2014. The Minister said that while these reports were needed as soon as possible, the immediate focus for local authorities would remain on the clean up operation and recovery.

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“We are now looking at how we prioritise future investment in flood defences so we can not only protect homes and businesses but also maximise opportunities for economic regeneration and growth in the long term.

“The emergency services and others acted swiftly with their response which undoubtedly saved lives and I would like to thank Natural Resources Wales, Local Authorities, the Fire and Rescue Service, the Police, the RNLI and other agencies for their efforts in warning and evacuating those at risk and for their continued and ongoing work.

“We know that our changing climate means that extreme weather events such as this are not going to go away. It is impossible to prevent flooding but we are working hard to build resilience around our coasts in Wales.”

“The storms have severely tested our coastal defences but this is an event that could have been much worse. Indeed we know that our continued investment in flood defence improvements in Newport, Borth, Aberaeron, Tywyn and Colwyn Bay has prevented or lessened flooding for homes and businesses in those areas.

“We sympathise with the people who suffered during the major storms which affected much of the Wales coast.

“My officials are continuing to work closely with local authorities and Natural Resources Wales on how we can assist in the aftermath of the floods, and I am encouraging affected local authorities to contact Welsh Government officials on grant funding for emergency works required to restore damaged defences.

“As requested by the Minister, we will work with local authorities and other partners to quickly gather information on the impact of the coastal flooding so that repairs can be prioritised “

“We are also in daily contact with the UK Government about an application to the EU Emergency Solidarity Fund, which was originally set up to provide assistance to those affected by the 2002 floods in Eastern Europe.

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Emyr Roberts, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales, said:

We have already completed emergency repair work on many of our sea defences where this has been possible. However in some places, repairs will take much longer.

“We will then look at what lessons can be learned from these storms and what can be done to improve the situation for the people who live and work along the Welsh coastline." Over the term of this Government, the Welsh Government is investing over £240m in flood and coastal defences. Despite cuts from the UK Government, the Welsh Government has maintained its flood and coastal erosion budgets.


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Flood Risk & Drainage

Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum

Tackling flooding should be a National Priority

Delays to reducing flood risk is outrageous The Flood and Water Management Act 2010 obliges new developments to manage the water running off roofs and hard surfaces so that it doesn’t cause flooding. However, despite four years of negotiations, it has been delayed yet again. Paul Cobbing, Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum said, “We all know from the last few weeks the impact of flooding and the trauma that it can cause. Failure to implement these measures will put people at risk.” These measures, commonly known as Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDs) help to slow down the flow of water in to our drainage systems. By doing so they help to reduce the peaks of flow over land, in our rivers and in our sewerage systems, helping to make sure that flooding doesn’t get any worse. There are other benefits too. Welldesigned drainage systems provide amenity areas and places for exercise, good quality environments for people to live in, as well as improving opportunities for wildlife. There is good evidence that house prices increase significantly when close to green space because people value the benefits to them. We live in an increasingly crowded island and if we wish to have new development it needs to be of a standard that keeps people safe and without them living in fear of being flooded. We must also ensure that development in one place does not lead to flooding elsewhere either and these systems are an essential to achieve this. Paul Cobbing said “Tackling flooding should be a National Priority. It is outrageous that this key element of national policy to reduce flooding, that has already received all party support in Parliament, keeps on being delayed.”

Tackling flooding should be a National Priority, according to the chief executive of the National Flood Forum, not just something we delegate to a few agencies. Paul said, “We have had a succession of years with “extreme weather” and with the forecast of further floods this year it is clear that we cannot go on with business as usual. The announcement today of £100 million is welcome, but it doesn’t tackle the real issues. We know that investing up front produces an economic return of up to 8:1. We need long term plans and resources that properly address our flood risk”. There have been a succession of major flood events since early December affecting coastal and inland communities from Whitby to Cornwall. It’s not only people on the Somerset Levels who are affected. Thousands of people across southern Britain are still suffering from the impact of the storms and can expect to be hit yet again in the coming days. The cost of handling these events is huge; for the Somerset Levels alone the estimate for pumping the existing water off the Levels is around £1 million. At the same time the maintenance budget for flood risk management has been slashed and the Environment Agency is losing a further 300 jobs. Local authorities are under pressure too. Under current budgets we cannot expect the same level of protection in the future, nor the same response from public services when there is an incident. The Environment Agency’s long term investment strategy, published in 2010/11 stated that spending needs to increase at a rate of £20 million plus inflation per year for the next 25 years, just to maintain the status quo. To make headway and reduce the number of properties at risk over time around an extra £50 million plus inflation would be needed. The Committee for Climate Change has set out what these scenarios would mean and also questioned whether planning decisions are putting people at risk. Paul Cobbing, chief executive of the National Flood Forum says, “Thousands of people across the country are suffering, right now. They need answers to some fundamental questions: 1. When are the right level of resources we need to keep people safe going to be made available, particularly with increasing urbanisation, housing growth and changing weather patterns? 2. How effectively are planning policies being implemented to keep communities safe? 3. How can we ensure that decisions in every sector properly take account of flood risk?”

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Flood Risk & Drainage

Flood defence and coastal erosion are among key infrastructure priorities and the Government has said it will build on the £2.3 billion capital investment already committed to flood defences by developing a new long-term capital plan. The Plan identifies the Flooding and Coastal Erosion Management (FCERM) programme as the key programme of investment to enable the government to meet its flooding and coastal erosion reduction targets as well as unlocking new opportunities for development and growth. It also lists 22 flood defence schemes in the scoping phase, 2 at the planning stage, 7 which have gained consent and 12 which are under construction.

The overall aim of the government’s approach is to ensure the risk of flooding and coastal erosion is effectively managed by using the full range of options in a co-ordinated way. It aims to ensure that Defra, the Environment Agency, local authorities, water companies, and other partners work together to: • reduce the potential damages of flooding and coastal erosion where it is economic and affordable to do so • increase the overall level of investment in flood and coastal erosion risk management and the value of measures taken to supplement central government expenditure • help householders, businesses and communities better understand and manage any flood and coastal erosion risks that they face • achieve environmental gains alongside economic and social gains, consistent with the principles of sustainable development

Exeter - existing flood defences

At the 2013 Spending Round, the government, for the first time, set a specific long-term capital funding settlement for flood management at record levels, worth £2.3 billion in total. This long term plan will enable capital programme delivery to be planned for the long-term, driving increased efficiency through providing certainty to the construction sector and help encourage contributions from other sources. The aim of the long term plan is that the government’s investment decisions will result in significantly more homes receiving a higher level of protection. Funding for the period 2010-2015 means that 165,000 households will have benefitted from improved or new defences over

The £38m Ipswich flood barrier which is designed to protect 1,900 homes and businesses in Suffolk. The tidal barrier is the third part of the project which includes strengthening barriers on both river banks

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Flood Risk & Drainage the Spending Review period. Over the longer term, 201516 and 2020-21, the spending will deliver improved protection to at least 300,000 additional homes. By allowing the Environment Agency, its partners and the supply chain to plan more effectively and adopt new delivery methods, such as innovative contractual arrangements and multi-year programmes of projects, it will also support an ambition to increase the efficiency of this investment by at least 10 per cent across the investment period. The funding programme should also support the insurance industry in maintaining available and affordable flood cover for households. To achieve this Defra and the Environment Agency will set out: • new projects that will be delivered within the long-term settlement • how efficiency savings will be made on these projects, exploiting knowledge gained through the innovative Thames Estuary Project 2100 Phase 1 (TEP 1) and lessons learned through best practice delivery of other projects • how benefits of a long-term plan might best be rolled out to aid delivery for other Risk Management Authorities, including local authorities; and will • review the appraisal and allocation of funding to projects to ensure that economic impact, including on business and economic growth, is taken fully into account

In addition to monitoring the FCERM programme, the government will particularly monitor the 9 projects which were selected for the additional funding made available in November 2012 because of their ability to unlock new opportunities for development and growth. The 9 projects selected were: • Clacton and Holland on Sea Management Plan Implementation Phase 1 • Exeter Flood Defence Scheme • Ipswich Flood Defence Management System: Tidal Barrier • Leeds City Flood Alleviation Scheme • Lower Derwent Flood Alleviation Scheme • Lower Don Valley Flood Protection Project • Northwich Town Centre • Salford Flood Alleviation Scheme • Skipton Flood Alleviation Scheme, Eller, Ings and Waller Hill Becks

The £36 million Clacton and Holland-on-Sea coastal protection scheme is the second largest sea defence project in the country and will cover a 5km stretch from Clacton Pier to Holland Haven, protecting nearly 3,000 homes for the next 100 years. The scheme includes 24 rock fishtail groyne structures and nearly 900,000 cubic metres of beach recharge.

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Flood Risk

Defra announces an additional £130 million for critical flood defences. 42 new flood schemes have been given the green light by Floods Minister Dan Rogerson today. A further 13 schemes previously given funding will also begin construction, bringing the total number of schemes starting work to 55 for this year. In all the new schemes starting construction this year will provide protection to over 42,000 households across the country. An additional £130 million will also help to secure and maintain critical flood defences before next winter hits. New schemes announced today include:

These schemes will go towards improved protection for over 165,000 properties in the four years to 2015 – 20,000 more than our target. Our priority is to do as much as we can with every pound of funding. The announcement of additional funding for urgent repairs to defences damaged during the recent storms is also welcomed. We are working closely with our local partners and communities across the country to assess and repair damage as quickly as possible. With one in six homes in England at risk of flooding, we would also encourage people to take their own steps to prepare for flooding, for example by signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service.”

• £9.4 million Port Clarence and Greatham scheme in Teesside which will improve protection to 350 homes from flooding; • £4 million scheme in Croston, Lancashire which will improve protection to 460 homes from the River Yarrow; and • £2.5 million scheme on the Upper River Tame in Titford, which will improve protection to 150 homes.

The government’s successful partnership funding scheme is also continuing to provide support to the most at-risk and deprived communities, giving local people greater choice about levels of local flood protection.

A total of £344 million will be spent on capital projects this year. Over the course of this Parliament more money than ever before will be spent protecting people from flooding with the government spending £3.1 billion. This investment is part of the government’s long-term flood defence spending programme to protect communities and deliver vital infrastructure projects. This will ensure 165,000 homes are better protected by 2015 – 20,000 more than the original target.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “We have worked together in government to deliver this extra package of funding for regions affected by flooding and the flood defence programme more generally. We will continue doing everything we can to support communities during these difficult times.”

Floods Minister, Dan Rogerson, said: “After the wettest January for over 200 years, Britain has been battered by some exceptional weather and communities have been devastated by the impact of flooding. Our flood defences have been seriously tested over the past two months which is why we are investing in repairs to ensure these crucial defences can withstand future storms. More money than ever before is being invested in flood defences and the new schemes will give greater security to thousands of homes and businesses that have previously feared flooding”

• A £18.1 million Sheffield City Council Lower Don Valley scheme that will better protect 290 business properties, thanks to local businesses who will contribute £1.4 million to the scheme; • A £37 million coastal defence scheme at Clacton led by Tendring District Council will improve protection to over 1,500 homes, with over £6 million in contributions; • A £24.2 million scheme in Morpeth, Northumbria, which has benefitted from £5.6m in partnership contributions to protect nearly 500 homes; • A £21 million coastal erosion scheme in Lyme Regis, Dorset which has received £4.3 million in partnership contributions, improving protection to 480 homes, and; • The £51m scheme in Leeds City centre, which will receive £3.4m of partnership contributions in 2014/15.

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “We are pleased to be able to confirm the construction of 42 new flood defence schemes in England. 10

In total, partnership funding will bring in £148 million additional investment by the end of 2014/15. This compares to just £13 million in the previous four years.

Current projects funded in partnership with others include:

The full list of schemes going ahead in 2014/15 is published on the Environment Agency’s website

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Flood Risk

An additional ÂŁ6.7m made available for flood recovery funding

DESIGN. ENVIRONMENT.. ENVIRONMENT SUST TAINABIL A LITY Y. SUSTAINABILITY. On 17th January, Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis announced a further funding package of ÂŁ6.7 million for local authorities affected by recent flooding and severe weather. Since the east coast tidal surge in December, severe weather and flooding has caused a significant amount of damage to housing, businesses, agriculture and transport infrastructure across the country. This recovery funding will assist with such repairs. This money builds on financial assistance already made available to councils. In December the Bellwin scheme was activated which enables councils to apply for financial assistance depending on local circumstances. Local authorities also received ÂŁ3.4 billion from the Department for Transport between 2011 and 2015 for local highway maintenance including flood damage to roads. The government is also spending over ÂŁ2.3 billion on tackling the risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

A unique engineering consultancy backed by over 30 years experience in leading-edge drainage design and implementation. We can provide: We ‡‡ + LJKTXDOLW\ÀRRGULVN +LJKTXDOLW\ÀRRGULVN assessments (FRA) compl compliant Z LWK133) ZLWK133) ‡‡ & RQWHPSRUDU\LQWHJUDWHG &RQWHPSRUDU\LQWHJUDWHG 6 X'6VROXWLRQVFRPSOLDQWZ  6X'6VROXWLRQVFRPSOLDQWZLWK WWKH1DWLRQDO6WDQGDUGVIRU KH1DWLRQDO6WDQGDUGVIRU sustainable drainage e syste systems. ‡‡ 3 URYLVLRQRIKLJKYDOXH 3URYLVLRQRIKLJKYDOXH WWHFKQLFDOVXSSRUWWRORFDO HFKQLFDOVXSSRUWWRORFDO D XWKRULWLHVZKRZLOOEH DXWKRULWLHVZKRZLOOEH D VVXPLQJWKH6X'6$SSUR  DVVXPLQJWKH6X'6$SSURYLQJ Body (SAB) role.

The costs of repairing flood defences damaged by the extreme weather are currently being assessed, by the Department for, Food and Rural Affairs and will be set out shortly.

Mr Lewis said: “I have been hugely impressed by the efforts of the emergency services, local authorities, voluntary organisations and communities through the recent severe weather and now we are helping areas to recover and see life return to normal. This extra ÂŁ7 million that can be used to help affected communities, will provide local authorities and their partner agencies additional resources they need to support recovery. This will top up support councils can get under the Bellwin scheme to cover the costs of clearing up after severe weather and flooding, and the substantial funding councils already get for potholesâ€?.

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Flood Risk & Drainage

The largest tidal surge for 60 years

Plymouth Hoe during the tidal surge

Between 5 December and 7 December 2013, Englands east coast experienced the most severe tidal surge that it has faced in 60 years. Sea levels at Hull peaked at a record 5.8 metres, with Dover seeing levels of 4.7 metres – the highest recorded since 1905. Over 18,000 people were evacuated as more than 1,400 properties were flooded.

• 6th December saw the most serious tidal surge in over 60 years. • 160,000 warnings were sent to homes and businesses.

The most severely affected reagions were the coastal areas of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Kent with areas in the North West and North Wales also affected. In some areas the high tides exceeded those in January 1953, which cuased widespread devastation. However, flood defences built since then, including the Thames and Hull Barriers, meant that

• 18,000 people were evacuated • 64 severe flood warnings were in place at the peak. Images courtesy of the Environment Agency

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many parts of the country are much better protected than in 1953. The Thames Barrier In December 2013, the Thames Barrier was raised to protect London from the largest tide recorded at Southend since it became operational. In January 2014, the Barrier was raised on 13 consecutive tides to protect people and property as high fluvial flows and high spring tides coincided. In February 2014, the Thames Barrier was closed on a record 20 occasions due to very high fluvial floods. There were 28 closures in the month, bringing the winter total to 50. Over 25% of all flood defence closures since the Thames Barrier


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Flood Risk & Drainage

The Humber, 6th December

became operational in 1982 have been during the winter of 2013/14. The Environment Agency estimated that, over the period, at least 800,000 homes and businesses were protected by approximately 2,800 kilometres of floodwalls, banks and other flood risk management assets along the English coast.

THE WA W WATER A ATER AT T STOPS HERE.

Happisburgh, 6th December

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Flood Risk & Drainage Pumping Station and Flood defences damaged by tidal surge The Environment Agency was busy in Boston, Lincolnshire, where temporary defences had to be installed after a 30-metre section of flood wall was damaged by the tidal surge on 5 December. and the surrounding area repairing flood defences damaged by the tidal surge.

Burst banks on the River Adur in Sussex

Temporary barriers on the River Adur

Repairs to flood banks along side the River Adur

Burst banks in Shoreham

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Piling repairs had to be carried out to a 50-metre length of defence at Slippery Gowt. Steel piles have been driven three-metres into the ground to mend the breach and 2,000 tonnes of stone was used to fill in the hole. Teams worked 14-hours a day using floodlights to carry out the work as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, at Bath Gardens in Boston, opposite works being carried out by the Environment Agency on the tidal River Haven, sand bags have been placed to temporarily repair the defence. Another site, near to the Environment Agency’s Black Sluice Pumping Station on London Road, has also seen temporary repairs being undertaken. 100 one-tonne bags of sand have been placed in

Inset, the River Haven is overtopped and Boston’s streets flood

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Flood Risk & Drainage front of the wall by the Environment Agency and the Witham 4th Internal Drainage Board. The bags will bolster the flood wall that was damaged by last week’s tidal surge.

Since 5th December 2013, over 6,480 properties have been flooded across England, but over the same period more than 1.3 million properties have been protected by flood protection measures.

The Black Sluice Pumping Station, was flooded by the tidal surge resulting in electrical and mechanical failure, resulting in rapid action to get two pumps back up and running. This allowed the pumping station, which was built in 1946 to manage water levels in the South Forty Foot Drain, to operate at more than 50 per cent capacity.

According to local Gold commanders, 2,600 homes have been flooded since the start of January, and a further 7,000 have been cut off by flood water or have lost access to services.

Kent prepared for the surge People living in east Kent had to evacuate their homes as the county prepared for the floods. Up to 200 homes in Sandwich were feared to be at risk, with more than 3,000 across the county.

Staines A308 to Windsor

EA preparing for flooding in Sandwich, Kent Norfolk hit hard In Hemsby, homes were claimed by the sea and several others badly damaged, while the Runton National Coastwatch station had to be evacuated after the cliff in front of the lookout station collapsed. Wells boathouse, which is the base for the town’s two lifeboats, was itself victim to the surge as water smashed the door of the inshore lifeboat shed and surged through the main boathouse, leaving behind around twenty tons of shingle and gravel.

Staines

2014 showed no let up 2014 brought fresh flooding to towns and villages close to the River Thames in Surrey as the river levels rose. Staines was one of the worst hit areas as heavy rains fell on already saturated grounds and a number of vehicles had to be towed out of water on the A320 near Staines. Dozens of homes were flooded and evacuations took place in Chertsey after the River Thames broke its banks.

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Flood Risk & Drainage

All hands to the pumps in Somerset The somerset levels have seen more than twice the average rainfall for this time of year with periods of prolonged and heavy rainfall. causing approximately 40 properties and 65 km2 of land to be flooded. This is the most significant flood that the area has seen for 20 years. The on going flood risk prompted the situation to declared a ‘major incident’ which means that the Local Authority can now call on outside agencies for help, such as the military which can provide the Council with pontoon bridges and pumps to asist with the emergency. The Somerset Levels has a history of flooding dating back centuries. The tidal range in the Bristol Channel is the second highest in the world – with high tides causing flood water to back up along the rivers across the Levels and Moors. Around 635 square kilometres of Somerset is below sea level. The recent widespread flooding of the Somerset Levels and Moors is just one in a long record of flood events. In 1919 historical records show that 280 square kilometres of the Levels and Moors were flooded. This widespread flooding was before many of our flood defences and raised embankments were constructed. In comparison today 16

only 65 square kilometers is flooded. The ancient tidal marshes of Somerset were gradually reclaimed through the activities of the Abbots and Bishops as far back as 1,000 years ago.

A huge pumping operation The Environment Agency is doing everything it can to pump water off the Somerset Levels as quickly as river and tide levels allow. Teams have been working around the clock since Christmas and extra manpower and pumping equipment has been brought in from around the country. 65 pumps have been working around the clock to drain an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of water (equivalent to 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools) off an area of the Levels spanning 65 km2 making this the single largest pumping operation ever undertaken in Somerset.

Is Dredging the answer? The Environment Agency were criticised for the lack of channel works and in particular dredging which many feel has been a contributing factor. However, experts point out that the sheer volume of water meant that dredging would have been very unlikely to have any impact on the flooding. www.fadsdirectory.com

The Environment Agency responded to the criticism saying that Nationally, £45 million was spent, in the last financial year, on improving rivers, including dredging and weed clearance. In Somerset, de-silting work was last carried out on pinch points on the Parrett and Tone rivers in November. Whilst dredging would provide some benefit to managing future flood risk on the Somerset Levels and Moors, it is not always the best long-term or economic solution compared with other flood risk measures such as building walls or providing storage upstream. Increased dredging of rivers on the Somerset Levels would not have prevented the recent widespread flooding because of the sheer volume of rainfall. On tidal stretches of rivers, silt immediately begins to return to the river following dredging. Where dredging increases river flows, it can also make flooding worse downstream. The Environment Agency will be working with Local Authorities and IDB’s to develop a long term water strategy for the Somerset Levels and have confirmed that dredging will begin as soon as it is safe to do so.


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Flood Risk & Drainage

Wildlife organisations call for a more flood-resilient future for the Somerset Levels The RSPB and the Somerset Wildlife Trust called on MPs and others to press government and its agencies to develop a water management strategy for a more flood-resilient future on the Somerset Levels that benefits both people and wildlife. The wildlife charities have also expressed concern over calls for dredging. RSPB and SWT say that Defra and its agencies must work with Level’s communities to create an evidencebased, effective, and sustainable flood management strategy, fit for the 21st century. The two environment charities, with a combined membership of over 40,000 in Somerset are calling for the adoption of five key principles: 1. Focus flood defence resources on protecting lives, homes, businesses and utilities. Invest in: better local flood defences for vulnerable rural properties, improvements to key roads making them less vulnerable to disruption, and more support in preparing Level’s communities for extreme events. 2. Slow the water flow upstream to reduce peak floods on the Levels. For example, upstream soils can be made less compact, natural habitats can be restored, more broadleaved trees can be planted and temporary flood storage created along drainage systems – in both upstream towns and the countryside. This has been effective elsewhere in the country, and needs to be used to help the Levels as well.

“dredging must be at the right scale”

appropriately when it reaches the floodplain. Make better use of the Parrett Flood Relief Channel and the gravity floodplain across King’s Sedgemoor. Plan and enable land-use change to provide more space for water. 4. Build greater resilience in the floodplain land uses. Incentivise the use of more flood-tolerant pastures, and encourage floodsensitive crops such as silage and maize to be grown off the floodplain. 5. Maintain critical watercourses to ensure appropriate levels of drainage. This includes dredging at the right scale to keep water moving on the Levels, but in planning how and where to dredge, don’t damage the Level’s wildlife-rich wetlands. David Leach, speaking for SWT said; “There is nothing new in these calls they have been made collectively by many local stakeholders - after all the big flood events in the last 15 years. Lack of leadership, for whatever reason has been the biggest barrier to achieving a fair transition to a more resilient floodplain that works for people, communities and nature. Innovations can be developed such as payments for ecosystem services to enable transition.” RSPB and SWT are also expressing concerns over proposals for dredging the Rivers Tone and Parrett that, they say, would extensively re-shape sections of the rivers. Mr Robins added;

3. Use the existing water management infrastructure better by spreading flood water more

“These proposals are based on a scheme design developed over half a www.fadsdirectory.com

century ago in the 1960s. Much has changed on the Levels since then, and the scheme as put forward by the Royal Bath &West Society and others is currently of real concern to the RSPB and SWT. “Our concern comes from this dredge being seen as the best or only solution to give the extra protection to homes and critical infrastructure that is needed. A more powerful response would reflect our the five key principles we have outlined. “In addition, because large parts of the Levels are wildlife rich, and we have yet to see guarantees that nature will be secured in both any dredge and then any subsequent water management operations, we have to see these concerns overcome.” Despite concerns, both RSPB and SWT have welcome the approach made by the Royal Bath and West Society to engage in the Somerset Levels Relief Fund initiative. Mr Leach added; “As organisations with a strong interest in the important Somerset Levels and Moors area, we share in common with the Society and other stakeholders across the area a desire to find the best longterm, viable and sustainable ways of managing water and flood events. Both our organisations are major landowners in the Levels, together owning several thousand acres on the floodplains. Our nature interests, operations and projects can be severely impacted by floods. Our staff and volunteers live in the effected communities of the Levels. At least 80,000 people a year visit SWT and RSPB nature reserves in the Levels.” 17


Flood Risk

The Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This executive summary outlines the key objectives of the Action Plan. It highlights the way to achieve those objectives, and it concludes with the next steps to be taken. The Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan has been drawn up within the parameters and timescale outlined by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson within a broad partnership of local and national organisations. It has also received considerable involvement of, and support from, the flood hit communities themselves. Whilst it is recognised that we will never be able to stop flooding completely, the Flood Action Plan sets six key objectives: 1. Reduce the frequency, depth and duration of flooding 2. Maintain access for communities and business 3. Increase resilience to flooding for families, agriculture, businesses, communities, and wildlife 4. Make the most of the special characteristics of the Somerset Levels and Moors (the internationally important biodiversity, environment and cultural heritage) 5. Ensure strategic road and rail connectivity, both within Somerset and through the county to the South West peninsula 6. Promote business confidence and growth

KEY ELEMENTS OF THE PLAN Dredge the first 8km of the Rivers Tone and Parrett • The Environment Agency is committed to dredge 4km of the 18

River Tone upstream of Burrowbridge, and 4km of the River Parrett below their confluence at Burrowbridge, to the 1960s river profile. This will begin as soon as it is safe and practical to do so, ideally from the end of March, and will be completed by autumn 2014, weather permitting. Increase the capacity of the Sowy/King Sedgemoor Drain • The Environment Agency, will make permanent the temporary pumping sites at Dunball by autumn 2014. • Somerset County Council will, this year, undertake appropriate road works to allow the River Sowy channel to be widened. • The Environment Agency, working with local partners, will identify and assess the most cost effective solution by the end of 2014 to improving the River Sowy/King Sedgemoor Drain to take more flow from the River Parrett. Based on this assessment, improvements will be delivered. Invest in flood management and infrastructure solutions having developed a better understanding of their effectiveness • The Environment Agency will review by the end of March 2015 the effectiveness of temporary operations and if appropriate install permanent infrastructure to enable temporary pumping sites Northmoor and Bridgwater Taunton Canal to be used in the future. They will also consider making permanent existing temporary protection around communities, e.g. at Aller, Westonzoyland and others. • The Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Boards will repair existing river flood banks and spillways; reinstate banks where overtopping occurred and implement small scale ring bank improvements by end March 2015. www.fadsdirectory.com

“We cannot let this happen again” Prime Minister, David Cameron • Somerset County Council will repair and resurface where appropriate 44km of flood affected roads using materials more resilient to flooding by end March 2015, subject to the weather conditions. • The Environment Agency will expand their existing river model, and working with Somerset County Council, the Local Enterprise Partnership, central government departments and infrastructure owners will develop an initial assessment to identify and prioritise the most effective, timely and best value combination of flood risk management and road, rail, sewage and telecommunications infrastructure solutions. This assessment will be completed by Autumn 2014. • The Environment Agency, drainage boards and others will review the effectiveness of dredging across the Levels and Moors and if appropriate identify potential locations and funding for further work by 2015. Accelerate the construction of a Barrier or Sluice at Bridgwater, with objective of achieving delivery by 2024 • Sedgemoor District Council and the Environment Agency will review the design options in summer 2014 for a tidal barrier or sluice at Bridgwater. • By end of 2014, Sedgemoor District Council and the Environment Agency, and central government will identify options to accelerate the build, funding and financing of the barrier / sluice. Establish a Somerset rivers board that has greater control and responsibility for work to maintain and improve water management on the levels • Local authorities, drainage boards and partners in Somerset, will work with central government, to develop


k

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Flood Risk a new management and funding approach. This will improve local control and accountability for flood and water management and longterm maintenance work on the Levels. It will include the development of a new catchment wide funding mechanism to lever in external funds. Initial proposals to be developed by end 2014 with new structures and funding operational from 2015/16 subject to any necessary legislative changes. • Defra, working with other government departments, will ensure that the impacts of long lasting floods on communities, the economy and strategic connectivity are properly recognised as part of the cost-benefit case for flood defence and connectivity infrastructure.

Support farmers to maximise the benefits from catchment sensitive farming, especially regarding runoff in the upper catchment • Somerset, with support from government, to develop and pilot a skills and support programme by 2015, building on Catchment Sensitive Farming to cover flood risk management as well as water quality. This will provide an integrated, comprehensive advice and support package for land management in upper, mid and lower catchment areas. Includes advice and support on voluntary adaptation and restructuring of farm businesses where appropriate. Includes locally administered capital grant fund. • Defra will this year consider how best to secure flood risk benefits in the forthcoming decisions on approaches to all Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) funding.

central government will explore options for early funding, financing and delivery by 2017 of the Upper Tone Catchment attenuation scheme • Local Planning Authorities, Defra, Wessex Water and the Environment Agency will identify hotspots with a high risk of urban runoff and work with owners to retrofit appropriate schemes where feasible to tackle the problems. • As Government will enact the Sustainable Urban Drainage provisions legislation in October 2014, then by March 2015, Local Planning Authorities in conjunction with Somerset County Council, will determine whether national Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) Approving Body standards are sufficient for the requirements in Somerset and whether more robust standards are needed. • Defra to ensure by June 2014 that the Planning Inspectorate has regard to this plan in determining appeals. Sustain and enhance business and community resilience capacity • Somerset Civil Contingencies Partnership will ensure an enhanced website and social media presence by Autumn 2014 providing comprehensive and easy to access information sources to help householders and businesses reduce their flood risk and improve their resilience to future events. • Over the next three years, Somerset Civil Contingencies Partnership will support locally led action to plan, design and implement solutions to increase resilience and adapt to future events. • We will ensure that learning from recent flooding is embedded into our response plans.

Manage urban runoff by ensuring best practice in planning and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) implementation

Ensure strong local leadership with full engagement of local partners and communities

• All Somerset Local Planning Authorities will review their planning policies with regard to flooding and if necessary, develop new local requirements or standards in line with the National Planning Policy Framework. • Local partners with support from

• Immediate delivery of the Action Plan will be overseen by an Implementation Group led by Somerset County Council consisting of local and national partners (including Local Authorities, Drainage Boards, the Local Enterprise Partnership, www.fadsdirectory.com

Environment Agency, business and farming interests, community groups, conservation bodies and other stakeholders together with central government led by Defra). The Implementation Group will commit to providing strong local leadership, including a commitment to engage with the community to build consensus and agree which actions should be implemented and how the community can increase its own resilience.

NEXT STEPS Establish a long term governance for the development and implementation of the Plan and where outstanding issues remain, local and national partners must commit to resolving these together. This will include working in partnership to develop new approaches for long term funding of management work on the Levels and identifying additional and innovative sources of funds to deliver elements of the plan. Detailed assessments and business cases will need to be produced to make the case for some of the investment choices, including how they compare to other projects across the country. Review progress against the plan regularly. Defra ministers will meet with local partners regularly to review the plan and ensure progress is being made. Review governance arrangements after two years to ensure they are fit for purpose, including managing the transition of appropriate responsibilities to the new Somerset rivers board. National government has provided additional resources to respond to the situation in Somerset, with £10m from Defra for flood risk management, £10m from DfT for transport work, and £0.5m from CLG for community resilience. In addition, Somerset business, farms and households are eligible for support under a variety of national level flooding recovery programmes. Furthermore prior to this plan local partners had identified over £1.5m towards future flood risk reduction work.

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Flood Risk & Drainage

As the UK remained on high alert, Know Your Flood Risk campaign launched a new Flood Recovery Guide to support victims through the clean-up

The new guide offers practical, step-by-step guidance to support those most affected.

Recent storms saw the largest tidal surge in 60 years, resulting in devastating floods across much of South East England. With further flood warnings being issued across the UK, data from the Met Office suggests that flooding could threaten to become an even more regular occurrence over the coming years. Since 1960, there has been a gradual increase in how often the UK experiences periods of extreme rainfall. Intense rainfall, which used to occur on average once every hundred days, has gradually become more frequent so that in the last decade heavy rain now falls roughly once every 70 days1. The impact of this can be felt nationwide and, with almost 1,400 properties having been affected by the most recent floods alone, more and more homeowners and tenants alike are being urged to take into account the practical considerations surrounding recovery.

Against this backdrop, and in order to provide householders with practical advice in the event of a flood, Know Your Flood Risk has launched its new Flood Recovery Guide. Written by Mary Dhonau, Chief Executive of the Know Your Flood Risk campaign, along with Researcher Carly Rose, both of whom have first-hand experience of flooding, the document offers an accessible step-by-step guide to help victims through the initial stages of recovery, as well as in the months to come regardless of whether the property is insured or not.

As Mary explains: “When I first flooded, I was caught utterly unaware. I was woken in the middle of the night by my son telling me that downstairs was under a foot of water. I lost all my youngest son’s playgroup drawings along with many other

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Flood Risk & Drainage everything at once, but there are some really important factors you need to take into consideration, from liaising with your Loss Adjuster through to some really basic health and safety considerations.”

irreplaceable photographs and possessions. However what struck me at the time was the complete lack of help or guidance for people such as myself, caught in that situation. “It can be extremely traumatic, and facing the clean-up process is daunting. However, by drawing on our own experiences we’ve been able to break the problem down into a series of manageable steps. It can be tempting to try and tackle

Flood Protection Systems

“The average flood claim is estimated to be around £30,000,” Mary continues. “However in many cases householders, particularly in the rental market, don’t even have the benefit of flood insurance simply because it is too expensive. If this is the case there are still a number of things you can do, and often there are grants and charities in place to support you. The real benefit of this guide is that it offers guidance and advice regardless of your situation. Every flood is different, and every house is unique, so the processes you need to follow will not necessarily be the same as your neighbour. It can take up to 12 months before any repairs are completed, but with the right support and guidance, you can ensure that the recovery process is on track even from day one.”

Flow Control Equipment

“We understand as well as anyone the loss, disruption and heartache that flooding causes,” Mary concludes. “However recovery is possible and, even when the situation seems most overwhelming, simply following some practical steps can make all the difference in terms of getting things back on track following the damage caused by flooding.” The Know Your Flood Risk Flood Recovery Guide offers a wealth of practical hints, tips and guidance, along with third-party information sources and advice, all presented in an accessible, easy-to-follow format. The Guide is free to download at www.knowyourfloodrisk.co.uk.

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Flood Risk

Tactical mobile flood response

Chertsey AquaDam

‘The Chertsey Sausage’!

Left: the ‘Chertsey Sausage’ and above aerial image showing the complete deployment In the midst of the national flood crisis, one event, in particular, captured the media’s and the public’s interest. In view of the threat that the Thames could potentially reach record flood levels, the EA took the precaution of installing a 600m long, 90cm high, AquaDam in Bridge Street, Chertsey, to protect over 200 properties from flooding.

dams were transported to the Silver Command base at Chertsey Fire Station, where the Environment Agency, Army, Fire Service, and the AquaDam Installation supervisors were all briefed on the project. Once on site the AquaDams dams had to be positioned and this was carried out by the army were very fast to understand what was required and took on the role with great efficiency.

Whilst the AquaDam system is used extensively in the US and Canada, for over 25 years, this is the first use in the UK with in an urban flood setting and as such generated huge interest with the national and local media visiting Chertsey along with a constant stream of 'sightseers'. The dam instantly became known as the ‘Chertsey Sausage, and caused a frenzy across social medie platforms. It has its own twitter page with hundreds of followers in just a couple of days and even a Tshirt created that reads' I saw the Chertsey sausage, 2014', since sold on Ebay for charity. It now also has a local butcher creating a 'Chertsey Sausage' named after the dam. Despite being given the light-hearted name the 'Chertsey Sausage' the AquaDam, is a serious piece of kit. AquaDams are used in the US for numerous flood protection and construction applications including a number of Nuclear Powers Stations, highways, business, and infrastructure applications. The Chertsey Deployment The call for assistance was taken by AquaDam Europe Ltd (Formerly Albion Water Structures), the European distributors of AquaDam, and the complete stock of AquaDams were delivered to the Environment Agency at Sunbury within 5 hours of taking the call. From there, the

A team effort

AquaDams are best filled with 2 small portable water pumps but on this occasion the EA used a large 6” pump, which was A 30m dam being off loaded from a positioned behind the mobile response vehicle houses, taking thousands of gallons of flood water from the gardens in order to fill the dams. AquaDam is a superb tactical flood defence system, ably demonstrated by the collaboration between the army and the Environment Agency. 3 days after deployment the risk of further flooding at Chertsey subsided and the dam was then redeployed in Croydon to protect the Kenley Water Treatment Works which supplies 47,000 properties. For more information www.aquadam-europe.com

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Flood Risk

Emergency response to Tidal Surge Specialist plant hirer, Land & Water were contacted by A-Plant and the Environment Agency around midday on Thursday 12th December immediately after the first big tidal surge of the winter with an urgent request to supply a very specialist machine to repair flood defences that had been damaged during the recent storm. Failure to repair the defences could have resulted in a significant risk of flooding in and around Walberswick in Suffolk. Due to the challenging environment where the flood defences were damaged, the only equipment that could be used to make the repair was an amphibious excavator which could travel over the very soft and flooded local terrain to repair the breached sea wall.

Land & Water's amphibious machine was working on another customer's site at the time of the enquiry and careful discussions were had with the other client who, appreciating the risk to people’s houses, agreed to allow Land & Water to have the machine for the weekend to assist at Walberswick. Wheels were immediately set in motion (quite

literally) with the Environment Agency arranging their own emergency crew and associated equipment whilst Land & Water had to collect the Machine on Friday afternoon (the very next day). It then travelled overnight to Walberswick to allow it to be unloaded by 08:00 on Saturday morning. To ensure the works were completed on time, Land & Water

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Flood Risk

Richard Houghton, Operations Manager at the Environment Agency said, "These flood defences could not have been repaired without this specialist plant and the Land & Water team behind it. We were impressed with the immediate response we received from them - especially at the point of enquiry where by thinking outside the box (instead of saying the machine wasn’t available) – they found a way to make the machine available. With a fantastic team effort between the Land & Water team and my own team, the job was completed safely, quickly and in a way that was extremely sensitive to natural environment around us. supplied both day and night shift operators who at very short notice cancelled all other plans for the weekend. This enabled the machine to work 24 hours a day until late on Sunday when the works were complete. The excavator was quickly cleaned off and loaded back onto overnight transport to be back on the original customer's site for 08:00 on Monday Morning – almost as if it had never been away!

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The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has, in January, published the most comprehensive national source of data on flood hazard and risk for Scotland. The new flood maps, which can be viewed at: http://www.sepa.org.uk/flooding/flood _maps.aspx, are an important step in increasing understanding of the sources and impacts of flooding and will be a key tool in producing Scotland's first ever co-ordinated plans to tackle flood risk. The maps, which have been developed in partnership with local authorities and Scottish Water, share more information on flooding than ever before with members of the public. The maps show different types of flooding, the likelihood of this happening and the impact of flooding when it does happen. The new national map, which builds on the information available in the previous Indicative River and Coastal Flood Map, features areas at risk from surface water flooding and includes information on depth and velocity where available. One of the other new flood maps developed by the Agency identifies areas where there is an opportunity for natural flood management. This is part of a more sustainable approach to tackling flooding in Scotland, and uses the natural processes and shape of the land to help to reduce flood risk. SEPA, working closely with local authorities and Scottish Water, will use the new flood maps to produce 26

Flood Risk & Drainage

Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans. These co-ordinated plans will look at whole river catchments and coastlines and identify what actions should be taken to manage flooding in Scotland. This approach to Flood Risk Management Planning, and the development of new flood maps, has been driven by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act (FRM Act) which has encouraged more partnership working between public bodies and a greater wealth of knowledge and understanding of how flooding can be managed proactively. James Curran, Chief Executive of SEPA, said: "The publication of new flood maps is a key milestone of the FRM Act, and will help us and our partners to take a more co-ordinated, sustainable and targeted approach towards reducing the impacts which flooding can have. "It is clear that there has never been a greater need for this information as we have seen, yet again over the last month, the misery that flooding has brought to communities across the country. As many people will be all too aware, flooding is a real threat and it can have devastating effects on lives and properties. In Scotland, for many years now, we've been aware of the expected increase in flooding caused by climate change and by having more information on the types of flooding and its impacts we can make more informed decisions and target our resources in the areas where we can make a real difference.

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"We can all help to reduce the impacts of flooding. By taking action now members of the public and businesses can limit the damage which flooding can cause. People can learn more about how flooding can affect their lives by looking at the flood maps, and use this information to help prepare and protect themselves and their properties. We would also encourage people to sign up to our Floodline service to receive free advance notification of flooding 24 hours a day." Following the launch of the new flood risk and hazard maps at the Scottish Government's Flood Summit, Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said: "SEPA's new flood risk and hazard maps are an extremely useful tool in supporting flood risk strategies across Scotland as they show not only the extent of flooding under different risk scenarios, but also the potential depth and velocity of flood waters. With extreme weather events predicted to become more frequent, it is of the utmost importance that we are as prepared as possible to respond when these hit. "A huge amount of work has gone into the creation of these maps and their launch comes as a result of successful partnership working between the Scottish Government, SEPA, Local Authorities and Scottish Water. This tool will help us to better understand the nature of flood risks at a local level and thereby to target efforts to plan and invest in mitigating potential flooding impacts in vulnerable areas."


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Flood Risk & Drainage

Warrington Flood Defence Scheme - just in time The 1.5 km stretch of flood walls and embankments along Knutsford Rd have already proved their worth by protecting around 1,500 local homes and businesses during one of the biggest tidal surges on the River Mersey since 1990. The ÂŁ23 million scheme has been made possible thanks to a partnership between the Environment Agency and Warrington Borough Council, who are jointly funding the new flood defences. The finished scheme will eventually reduce the risk of flooding to over 2,000 homes and businesses in Warrington from the River Mersey and its tributaries. The second phase of construction is scheduled to begin in Howley in January, then the third and final phase will be constructed in

Woolston, Padgate, Kingsway North, Cinnamon Brow and Latchford East, with completion scheduled for spring 2015. The Warrington Mayor, Cllr Peter Carey, said: “These new flood defences provide peace of mind to hundreds of local families and businesses. The tidal surge we experienced earlier this month shows they were completed not a moment too soon and proves how important they are to the local community.�

Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, Mark Garratt, added: “We couldn’t have completed construction at a better time, as the new defences were tested during a major tidal surge on Thursday 5th December. The flood walls and embankments worked perfectly, holding water on the natural flood plain in Victoria Park and protecting around 1,500 local homes and businesses.�

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Alex has over 37 years experience in stormwater drainage design and related issues. As well as being the UK Stormwater Director with Hydro International he is also Chairman of the British Water SuDS focus group. He is ideally situated to keep you up to date with the industry changes and legislation.

Alex Stephenson, SuDS Delays: Have We Lost Sight of our Founding Principles?

Long-awaited legislation to introduce National Standards for Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and make them compulsory for new developments in England and Wales has been delayed yet again. Six years after 2007 floods that prompted ‘urgent action’ and right in the midst of more severe storms and floods, the Government has confirmed it will not meet its target of implementing SuDS regulations in England and Wales. Part of the provisions of the Flood and Water Management Act, the regulations will end a developer’s automatic right to connect to a public sewer and make surface water drainage systems subject to approval by new local authority SuDS Approving Bodies (SABs), who will then be responsible for adopting and maintaining them.

Stormwater & SuDS

Now Environment Minister Dan Rogers has confirmed that latest target date for SABS to begin their work – April 2014 – cannot be met. The Minister stressed that the Government is still committed to implementing the legislation. It seems it could be autumn at the earliest before this will happen. Yet more uncertainty will cause frustration first for local authorities needing to fund and staff the SuDS Approving Bodies getting ready to implement the new rules. But it's also a concern for everyone in the industry when these regulations have been subject to so many delays. Rogerson stated: “..we are working with developers and local government to develop the processes, standards and guidance that are an integral part of a new SUDS approvals and adoption regime, rather than just imposing them. That takes time, but it is time well spent if the end result is an approach that is fair to all parties and successful from the outset because local government and developers are fully prepared to take on their respective new responsibilities.” It’s true that Defra has been working hard to consult with all stakeholders to find satisfactory agreement on the detail of National Standards

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and accompanying design guidance. I have been a member in the “Task and Finish” groups set up to facilitate the consultation. Recent press coverage suggests that housebuilders and developers are worried about the costs of space-hungry above-ground ‘natural’ features such as ponds, wetlands and swales. There are also questions surrounding the proper funding for local authorities to maintain SuDS effectively. Why is it that these issues should catch the interest of the media now? Surely they have been recognised in our industry from the start? Housebuilders have been putting in perfectly good SuDS schemes for the past 10 years or more. So what has changed? I have been involved in promoting and lobbying for SuDS for more than 30 years. I believe a significant contributory factor has to be the way in which the definition and interpretation of SuDS has shifted over the years. The key principles of SuDS are to mimic natural drainage paths and processes and to deal with rainwater at source. The SuDS ‘triangle’ of Quantity, Quality and Amenity is a good guide, but not each of the three elements is achieved in every case, depending on the site conditions. There is a desperate need to build more housing in the UK at the moment. I know from speaking to many housebuilders that the requirement for ‘amenity’ and for ‘green’ features presents in some cases the need to give up space that could otherwise be used for development. However, there are exemplary housing schemes – including those on this website – that have shown it is possible to achieve excellence, often by combining natural and manufactured features. We simply have to go back to these first principles and get real about SuDS. We must accept that one of the first aims of sustainable surface water management is to treat pollution whilst stopping surface water being conveyed large distances via combined sewers and ending up at wastewater treatment works. This may not necessarily always mean above ground features. Yes, let us aim for amenity value where possible, but if not commercially viable, then let us accept that good compromises can be reached by using the full SuDS toolbox – using both natural and proprietary features to meet SuDS principles. Innovative technologies – many developed and well-proven by UK industries – are available to reduce the amount of space needed for surface water drainage features, whilst still providing atsource attenuation/infiltration and treatment. Developing such solutions could also be more appropriate for encouraging water re-use and recycling.

British Standard Points the Way In the meantime, a new British Standard, BS8582, has been published giving best practice recommendations on the planning, design, construction and maintenance of surface water management systems for new developments and redevelopment sites. Although purely a code of practice, the new standard has been written in the spirit of harmonising and updating the “disparate, often cumbersome, and at times contradictory” guidance available to designers and developers of SuDS systems, according to British Standards Institution (BSI) website. The standards also usefully cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so may help to offer some consistency of approach especially to professionals working across those borders. BS8582 is offered for use by local authorities, developers, internal drainage boards, water companies and industry practitioners such as consultants and architects. It acknowledges the growing need for local authorities to scope and review technical submissions relating to surface water flood risk management as part of the planning process. The standard is also designed to address the need for consistent, clear industry guidance that developers can refer to when preparing a planning application, and designing a safe and sustainable surface water management system. So, whilst being another guidance document, rather than compulsory, the standard can be said to reflect the latest thinking on SuDS design and maintenance and may point the way towards what we can expect from the new National Standards for England and Wales. In particular, BS8582 includes important guidance on best practice in surface water treatment and guidance on the use of proprietary devices for silt and sediment removal to protect infiltration and storage systems is particularly welcome. The new standard is designed to be complementary for BS8533 Assessing and Managing Flood Risk in Development and BS EN 752 Drains and Sewers Outside Buildings. Further details are available on the BSI website.

SuDS in Scotland Remember, the new legislation applies only in England and Wales. The rules in Scotland have been in place for many years. The recent Engineering Nature’s Way survey in Scotland provides some valuable experiences for the rest of the UK to learn from, especially in terms of engineering choices available and the need to be clear on future maintenance regimes. For more information see the report on page 34

A more pragmatic approach is simply going to be essential if we are to achieve the widespread retrofitting of more sustainable drainage features. Contact Alex by:email: alex.stephenson@hydro-international.co.uk Telephone: 01275 878371

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Stormwater & SuDS

It’s High Time to Get Real about Surface Water Management measures, experts warn

Developers have been installing good SuDS Schemes for the past 10 years YET more unacceptable delays to the implementation of long-awaited legislation to make Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) compulsory for new developments in England and Wales have been exacerbated by an overlyidealistic interpretation of SuDS as natural above-ground drainage features, experts have warned. “It’s time to get real about the principles and practice we need for surface water drainage not just for new development but also for much-needed improvements to the existing surface water drainage infrastructure. This will be essential not only to combat flooding, but also to tackle pollution of our rivers and watercourses,” says Alex Stephenson, chair of the British Water Sustainable Water Management (SuWM) Focus Group and Director of Hydro International’s UK Stormwater division. Despite another period of devastating flooding, Defra has confirmed that plans to make SuDS compulsory for developments over one property in April 2014 have been delayed again to take account of the outcomes of consultations with industry stakeholders. A new date for implementation has yet to be confirmed. The new regulations as part of the Flood and Water Management Act will make sustainable drainage systems subject to approval by new local authority SuDS Approving Bodies, who will then be responsible for adopting and maintaining the SuDS. 30

“Housebuilders and developers are worried about the costly loss of land required to build space-hungry aboveground ‘natural’ features such as ponds, wetlands and swales. There are also questions surrounding the proper funding for local authorities to maintain SuDS effectively. “It’s not that housebuilders are anti-SuDS – many have been installing good SuDS schemes for the past 10 years or more and these issues are not new to our industry. The question is, why are they the focus of attention now? “I believe a significant contributory factor is a tendency to interpret SuDS too rigidly as ‘natural’ or above ground drainage features and this is what threatens to hold back progress. “It’s time to go back to the first principles of what we are trying to achieve in sustainable surface water control as well as treatment of pollutants from runoff, in particular from highways. The key principle of SuDS is to mimic natural drainage paths and processes and to deal with rainwater as close as possible to where it falls – by infiltration where possible. By doing so, the unsustainable outcome of directing surface water into the over-burdened sewer network is avoided. “Innovative technologies – many developed and wellproven by UK companies – are available to reduce the

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Stormwater & SuDS amount of space needed for surface water features. Proprietary solutions can also help to deliver predictable and repeatable maintenance schedules that local authorities can effectively cost. Technologies such as vortex flow controls, underground storage/infiltration systems and treatment devices are available to use alongside, or instead of natural features. “A pragmatic approach is essential if we are to realise the full potential of sustainable drainage systems. It was 2007 when devastating surface water flooding first prompted the Pitt Review which led to the Flood and Water Management Act. Six years later, after persistent delays and repeated calls for action by politicians on the Efra committee, it seems unbelievable that we are still waiting. Technologies are already available that can deliver a satisfactory compromise.

A toolbox of natural and proprietary features can be used to meet SuDS objectives

“It’s vital that Defra gets the allimportant design guidance that will accompany the legislation absolutely right. It’s essential that this, and future, design guidance for SuDS takes full account of the toolbox of well-proven technologies available to support natural design features.” The proposed new legislation is applicable in England and Wales. Different regulations are already in place in Scotland where SuDS have been compulsory since 2003. The successes and lessons learned were highlighted in the recent SuDS in Scotland – Experience and Opportunity Survey.

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For more information visit the SuDS knowledge sharing website www.engineeringnaturesway.co.uk. Alex Stephenson has 40 years experience in stormwater drainage design and related issues and has been chair of the British Water Sustainable Water Management (SuWM) Focus Group for 10 years. He has been Operations Director of the UK Stormwater Division of Hydro International for 7 years.

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New flood maps include the risk from surface water flooding Improved flood maps published today show a reduction in the number of people classed at risk of surface water flooding and will help communities and businesses protect their properties from flooding. The maps show areas of the country at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea as well as new national scale maps of surface water flooding, making them some of the most comprehensive anywhere in the world.

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Previous data estimated that 3.8 million properties were at risk of surface water flooding but improved mapping has now reduced that figure to around 3 million.

properties from surface water flooding. Some properties are at risk from both types of flooding. Chief Executive of the EA, Dr Paul Leinster, said:

Surface water flooding occurs when intense rainfall overwhelms drainage systems. Some 35,000 properties were affected by surface water during the major floods of 2007.

“Last week’s storm surge brings into sharp focus how important it is that people know if they could be affected by flooding. Being prepared can save lives, homes, personal possessions and businesses. Our thoughts are with those who were flooded. “We have used cutting edge technology to map areas at risk of surface water flooding in England. These maps are now amongst the most comprehensive in the world. “With one in six homes in England at risk of flooding we urge people to check if they are at risk, and sign up to free river and coastal flood warnings, by visiting the Environment Agency website.”

England is leading the world by providing surface water mapping on such a large scale. Surface water mapping involves cutting edge technology, with flood experts using models to observe how rain water flows and ponds, and producing maps that take local topography, weather patterns and historical data into account. Future versions of the maps will be more detailed and accurate as the modelling technology develops. Properties at risk of flooding Around 5 million properties are at risk of flooding in England, 2.4 million from rivers and sea and 3 million www.fadsdirectory.com

The new maps, as well as providing a vital service to the public, will also help local authorities to manage surface water flood risk as required


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Stormwater & SuDS

by legislation passed in 2010. Measures already implemented by local authorities to manage surface water flood risk include the installation of property-level flood protection such as flood boards, working with water companies to create water storage areas, and recruiting teams of flood wardens to improve community resilience. National planning guidance is also in place to ensure that new development is resilient and does not increase flood risk elsewhere. Environment Minister Dan Rogerson said: “We understand the damage and the stress that flooding can cause. That’s why we’re spending an unprecedented amount of money on protecting communities from flooding and coastal erosion. “On top of this we have reached an agreement with the ABI guaranteeing affordable flood insurance for people in high-risk areas both now and in the future.” Since 2011 the Environment Agency has protected an additional 99,000 homes and businesses with new river and coastal flood risk management schemes, and is on track to increase this figure to 165,000 by 2015. Last

year over 7,000 properties were flooded but 200,000 properties were protected from river and coastal flooding by Environment Agency flood risk management schemes. From 2015 Defra is investing £370 million per year rising to £400 million by 2021 to protect more homes and businesses. This is more than £2.3billion over a six year period; more than ever before. The new maps will help to make the best use of this investment.

Aidan Kerr Head of Property at the Association of British Insurers said: “Accessing accurate, up-to-date information on surface water flood risk will help homeowners and businesses take steps to reduce the often devastating, and expensive impact of flooding” See the new flood maps here: Surface Water Flood Maps

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Learning from SuDS North of the Border Scotland is ahead of the rest of the UK in making the design and installation of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) mandatory. A survey of professionals working with SuDS in Scotland conducted recently by the Engineering Nature’s Way knowledge-sharing website holds vital lessons the rest of the UK. A panel of experts debated the findings of the survey - SuDS in Scotland – Experience and Opportunity - during a lively and sometimes passionate Round Table discussion held in Edinburgh in November. Under the chairmanship of a leading academic in the field, Dr Scott Arthur from Heriot-Watt University, many of the 18-strong panel have been closely involved in Scottish SuDS policy working groups. They included representatives of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), the Scottish Government and Scottish Water as well as consulting engineers, housebuilders and local authorities.

Round Table Panel: • Dr Scott Arthur - Senior Lecturer / Director of Studies, Heriot-Watt University • Ron Jack, Walker Group (Scotland) Ltd • Doug Buchan, Scottish Water • Jane Shields, Living Water Ecosystems Ltd • John Millar, West Lothian Council • Neil McLean, MWH • Chris Pittner, WSP • Phil Collins, Hydro International • Brian Jones, Hydro International • Andrew Hemingway, SEPA • Kenneth MacDougall, Envirocentre • Andy Bogle, City of Edinburgh Council • Ged Mitchell, Bear Scotland • Drew Hill, Transport Scotland • Martin Findlay, Cala Homes East Ltd • Judith Tracey, Scottish Government

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A few of the 18-strong panel including, Chair, Dr Scott Arthur from Heriot-Watt University, 3rd form the left

“The discussion revealed the challenges in reconciling the agendas of organisations with widely different regulatory and commercial objectives, that can sometimes lead to ‘disconnects’ that leave SuDS falling between the gaps,” according to Phil Collins, National Sales & Marketing Manager for Hydro International , who hosted the event for the Engineering Nature’s Way SuDS knowledge-sharing initiative. “We were extremely fortunate to have such an influential group of people together to debate the survey findings. I hope that the survey and the debate’s conclusions will be listened to carefully by practitioners on both sides of the border. The findings provide essential clues to addressing the issue that SuDS not only need to be designed correctly, but also owned, operated and maintained properly in the long term.”

Legislative drivers The overwhelming majority of the 151 practitioners who participated in the survey believed that Scotland has successfully implemented SuDS since the implementation of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) ACT (WEWS) 10 years ago. Most agree that a framework of legislative drivers have helped Scotland to make more effective progress with SuDS than England and Wales. The survey questioned a broad range of professionals involved in the specification, design, delivery and approval of SuDS in Scotland and many took the time to make detailed comments. Amongst those represented were consulting engineers, developers, environment www.fadsdirectory.com

agency and water company professionals.

Maintenance and Adoption The survey responses revealed significant frustration that Scottish authorities had been very slow to adopt SuDS systems, regarding this as a significant barrier to progress. Most believed regulation and guidance to be insufficiently clear for both maintenance (59.8%) and adoption (67.1%). “During the panel discussion it was clear that sometimes SuDS features fell between the two stools of Scottish Water and the Local Authority roads department, “comments Collins. “A refusal to adopt a feature is leading to a ‘limbo’. This raised concerns amongst panellists that some householders were being asked effectively to pay twice for their surface water drainage as they were burdened with estate maintenance charges, even though they have already paid water company charges and council tax. “The reasons why SuDS are being left unadopted and unmaintained provides vital signposts for future SuDS success, ” he added, highlighting three key reasons raised during the debate: • Poor SuDS design and construction. The SuDS had not been designed or built to a standard that the adopting authority would accept. • Lack of funding for maintenance 77.8% of survey respondents felt there was inadequate funding for


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Stormwater & SuDS the adoption and maintenance of SuDS in Scotland • Insufficient knowledge of and training for maintenance of SuDS features.

Limitations in SuDS Design In the survey, consulting engineers and developers particularly appeared frustrated by limited options to design from a wide SuDS toolbox. Only about half (52%) of survey respondents were satisfied that current regulation and guidance gives practitioners freedom to specify from a full toolbox of both “natural” and manufactured /proprietary SuDS features. During the debate, panellists argued that SuDS options in Scotland focus mainly on ponds and basins designed as end of pipe systems. There was a desire to expand SuDS to incorporate more source control features from a wider toolbox. One clear frustration was that currently SEPA does not accept proprietary Downstream Defender® vortex separators as a level of treatment, meaning they could not be counted as part of the SUDS scheme, even if they were providing a treatment benefit. “A key point is that the term ‘level of treatment’ is not clearly defined. SuDS features would more usefully be selected and specified according

to the sediment and pollutant removal performance required for a particular site,” adds Collins. “A national asset register of proprietary SuDS features could quite easily be established based on information readily available from manufacturers. This would counter concerns that underground systems can be ‘forgotten’, which was a key factor in SEPA’s reluctance to accept them.” Most survey respondents, also believed that proprietary SuDS features either require the same maintenance or are easier to maintain than natural SuDS features with less than a third (30.8%) believing they are more difficult to maintain.

Whole-Life Costing Accurately assessing the whole-life costs of constructing and operating SuDS is an integral part of ensuring effective ownership and adoption, moving forward. During the debate, there was a broad consensus that more independent evidence of the operating performance of installed SuDS would be extremely welcome in informing future design guidance, costing and design selection tools. In the survey, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that further developments of the SuDS for Roads Whole Life Cost and Whole Life Carbon Toolkit from SCOTS (Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in

Scotland) would be welcome, together with the development of other industry tools, such as Hydro’s own Treatment Selection Tool to assist with the design and costing of both proprietary and natural SuDS.

Conclusion “Although the survey and round table inevitably flagged opportunities for further progress, the overall experience in Scotland has been positive and successful. The challenge now is to take forward the lessons learned. They apply equally to the development of SuDS policy and practice in England and Wales in the run-up to the expected introduction of compulsory National Standards for SuDS and the establishment of Local Authority SuDS Approval Bodies in April 2014,” adds Collins. “CIRIA’s design guidance for SuDS has strongly informed SuDS policy, regulation and design in Scotland. That guidance is currently under review and I strongly believe the outcome of the survey and the debate give powerful signposts to future measures that can ensure future success on both sides of the border.” For more information about the Round Table debate and to download a copy of the survey report visit www.engineeringnaturesway.co.uk.

In this tightly built-up location, with limited space for major landscaping features, the stormwater storage is divided into three. Hydro’s Stormcell® modular block storage system is installed under landscaping, 1500 mm concrete pipes under the access roads and large aggregate banks under the car park.

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The pipe storage is discharged through a single HydroBrake Optimum® vortex flow control device, while the aggregate and Stormcell® storage are served by two smaller Hydro-Brake Optimum® units acting in parallel. The final outlet to the storm sewer combines the two discharges. The arrangement of the twin attenuation units provided flexibility to deal with the variations in rainfall that may occur due to climate change. The capability enables the installation to cope with a wide range of flood event probabilities from 1 in 30 years to 1 in 100.

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Stormwater & SuDS

Flood Prevention & Planning Action Tom Hodson RIBA Consultant to Interpave

Despite January’s extreme weather and floods, the Government has announced yet more delays in implementing sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) for new projects, aimed at reducing further flooding, through the 2010 Flood and Water Management Act. However, SuDS experts have pointed out that impermeable surfaces on existing properties are contributing to downstream flooding now. Planning measures are already in place to help address the problem but local planning authorities need to prioritise enforcement.

areas of any size between the house and any street therefore not just front gardens. But it’s not just domestic drives that are affected. Similar measures have applied to industrial, warehouse, office and shop premises in England since April 2010 and they are being considered in Scotland as well.

Changes in Permitted Development rules have been in place for some time to encourage permeable solutions for new or replacement paving around existing buildings, as part of the fight against flooding. Before the changes, paving anywhere in a garden related to a house or bungalow with any materials was considered to be ‘permitted development’ – effectively, an automatic planning permission without needing a planning application. However, permitted development rights have been taken away from new or replacement drives or other hard surfaces, unless permeable paving is used or water drains onto a permeable area within the property. Otherwise, planning permission will be required and this should be resisted on policy grounds.

Of course, a small area of paving in isolation is not going to cause major flooding – but it is the cumulative impact of lots of areas around homes and commercial properties being sealed up that creates real problems. For example, The Greater London Authority estimated that paving over front gardens for car parking that has already occurred in the city is equivalent to an area around 16 times the size of the new Olympic Park or the size of 5,200 football pitches.

These measures took effect in October 2008 in England and have applied from 30 September 2013 in Wales - in both cases applying to paving over 5m2 (although just for replacement paving in Wales) and in the front garden only. For Scotland, similar measures apply to work initiated after 6th February 2012 and to 36

All these measures rely on action now by local planning authorities in prioritising enforcement to have a real impact on downstream flood prevention in the future.

All the permitted development regulations refer to a guide on permeable paving from the Department of Communities and Local Government and this, in turn, refers to Interpave’s website www.paving.org.uk/domestic and its guidance document: ‘Paving for Rain: responsible rainwater management around the home – guidance for householders’. More guidance for property professionals is available from ‘Permitted Paving’ which can be downloaded from www.paving.org.uk/commercial

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The latest version of the Riverside guide

People living near rivers are being urged to read the Environment Agency’s updated guidance on their role in minimising the risks posed by water. November is the organisation’s official flood promotion month, aimed at raising awareness to reduce the threat of flooding. For over a decade, the ‘Living on the Edge’ publication has helped people understand the responsibilities that go along with being a riverside property owner. These ‘riparian rights’ are regularly altered by changes in the law, and the Environment Agency create this guide to keep people up-to-date with what they must do to the watercourse that flows through or adjacent to their property. The fourth edition of the guide has now been released, and is available for free as a booklet or via download on the Environment Agency’s website.

                                

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Neil Pope, from the Environment Agency, said: “We strongly recommend that anybody living near to a watercourse takes a few minutes to read the guide. “Living on the Edge is the essential guide for anyone living by a watercourse. Reading it will help them to understand their legal responsibilities. “The guide gives some easy-tounderstand bullet points on landowners’ responsibilities to the river, which if not fully grasped could result in action being brought against you.� The new edition of ‘Living on the Edge’ reflects recent changes in the law, especially the strengthened role of local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards in local flood risk management. It also includes a jargon-busting explanation of river terms, an explanation of the Environment Agency’s role and a comprehensive list of contact information for further advice. To order a booklet, call 03708 506 506 or click HERE to download the PDF version. 39


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River restoration & management

First England River Prize lainched ABOUT THE ENGLAND RIVER PRIZE

River Restoration in Europe: The art of the possible RESTORE, a LIFE+ funded partnership promoting river restoration, has now published its layman�s report; River Restoration in Europe: The art of the possible in English, Finnish, French, Dutch and Italian. Based on the findings and achievements of their three year project, and the results of the recent European River Restoration Conference, this is an agenda setting document highlighting the successes of river restoration, while also stressing the key policy and technical challenges still needed to take river restoration forward. The report provides a direction for future activities in the hope that these will be taken up by policy makers and river basin managers Using artificial structures such as flood walls and dams to protect homes, industry and agriculture have not solved the problem of flooding. Instead this approach has destroyed the river habitats, wetlands and floodplains which should give us with natural flood protection. River restoration and the naturalisation of floodplains work with nature to help control floods. It also provides improved natural habitats, and enhanced recreational facilities and urban and rural landscapes. RESTORE is a LIFE+ funded project that ran between 2010-2013. About the RESTORE Partnership RESTORE was a European partnership which developed the tools and skills for sharing knowledge and promoting best practice on river restoration in Europe. It was set up to encourage the restoration of European rivers and floodplains for increased ecological quality and flood risk reduction plus social and economic benefits. RESTORE ran between 2010-2013 and was funded by the LIFE financial instrument of the European Commission. For more information contact: Susan.sheahan@environment-agency.gov.uk Tel. 0203 263 8199 restore@environment-agency.gov.uk

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To highlight the importance of a catchment based approach in England, the Environment Agency has formed a partnership to deliver the England River Prize. The England River Prize will celebrate and give recognition to successful approaches to river restoration, delivering a wide range of benefits. Administered by the River Restoration Centre (RRC) and judged by a panel of experts, the first England River Prize will be presented in 2014 at the RRC annual conference. The overall England winner will be provided with support to apply for the IRF European Riverprize the following year. Applications close on 23 March, 2014. Finalists will be contacted in early April, and asked to provide a 5 -10 minute video that illustrates their nominated project. The prize organisers can offer support with this if needed. This video will be screened at the RRC annual conference dinner. ELIGIBILITY Organisations involved in river, wetland, estuary restoration and protection in England can enter the England River Prize. The project you enter must have taken place in England (or in exceptional circumstances across national borders as long as significant activity has taken place in England). • Applicants should be able to demonstrate achievements in river, wetland or estuary restoration and protection. Include the contribution which your project has made towards achievement of the objectives of the Water Framework Directive. • Submissions should be able to demonstrate effective engagement with stakeholders • Submissions should also demonstrate evidence of innovation to integrate social, economic and ecological elements for effective programme delivery as part of a long-term vision. • Applicants should provide evidence of an integrated, science-based process for improving or maintaining aquatic ecosystem health. • If applicable submissions should highlight their multiple benefits. • Applications will be considered in their local political or social context.

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River restoration & management BENEFITS OF WINNING • Provides recognition and reward for the projects and participants’ achievements. • Showcases excellence in river basin management. • Demonstrates leadership, innovation, partnership working and commitment to sustainability. • Raises the profile of the project in the community to potential sponsors, businesses and other stakeholders. • Facilitates networking and business linkages beyond the award period. • Creates a platform for project growth and extension activities TO APPLY In order to begin your online application, you will first need to enter some basic information and you will then be emailed a secure link to begin your application. Click here to begin your England River Prize application

International restoration prize Previous winner: River Thames 2010 The River Thames beat waterways from across the world to win the top environmental prize in 2010. It scooped the International Theiss River Prize, given for achievements in river management and restoration. The International Riversymposium honoured the Thames for its recovery from a biologically dead river in the 1950s to today's thriving waterway. It beat finalists the Yellow River, in China, Hattah Lakes, Australia, and the Smirnykh Rivers Partnership. The Thames is now teeming with fish and has seen returning salmon, otter and sea trout and the numbers of fish are increasing, with 125 different species recorded, including internationally important smelt and shad. Between April 2005 and the closing date for the 2010 competition, 393 habitat enhancement projects were completed and nearly 70km of river has been restored or enhanced.

tubes can also, if necessary, be replaced easily by divers without the need to lift the Aquaerator from the reservoir bed.

New lake bed Aquaerator reduces long term water maintenance costs Aquarius Marine Group (AMG), a specialist in water quality solutions and consultancy for water utilities and fisheries, has announced a new version of its water aeration and mixing solution. Called the Aquaerator, this innovative, patented technology is designed to improve the health and oxygenation of reservoirs and lakes, and to satisfy water quality maintenance in compliance with the 2015 Water Framework Directive. Aquaeration provides a long term, low carbon solution to thermal stratification, a common issue for

reservoirs and lakes, leading to poor oxygenation and a build-up of metals in suspension, as well as blue green algae, all of which would normally require expensive chemical removal in the Water Treatment Works. The new Aquarius Marine Group Aquaerator utilizes a UPVC manifold, instead of stainless steel which attracts manganese oxide, and is designed to provide a virtually maintenance free solution for resolving anoxic conditions. It also overcomes the issue of manganese deposits which can quickly clog and block up old style diffuser solutions. The detachable UPVC manifold www.fadsdirectory.com

The sub-surface solution sits on plinths above the silt layer and works by mixing air with water from the bed to form a rotating plume of fine bubbles, which mix and circulate the layers of water. Unlike other solutions, the Aquaerator is designed to draw water horizontally from the surrounding base layer to ensure the ecology of the lake or reservoir bed is not disturbed and that silt is not drawn up into the water column. Tony Wynes, Managing Director, Aquarius Marine Group explains: “Expensive treatment works and chemical removal is an increasing cost issue for lake and reservoir management. The new Aquaerator is designed to provide an environmentally friendly, low carbon approach to water quality maintenance, overcome the clogging issues that can beset conventional sub-surface aeration to provide a long term, low cost and maintenance solution.” 41


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River restoration & management

Photos courtesy of Steve Brayshaw

Restoration of the River Witham

By Steve Brayshaw

Location: Easton, Lincolnshire (c7km south of Grantham)

Length completed: 2 km

These works, which began in September 2013, only form part of the overall scheme on the Witham, with restoration currently being carried out over a further 4.5km. The Environment Agency are currently seeking partnership works in this area.

Completion Date: October 2013 Cost: £45K including fencing, in‐stream works, utility checks, materials, interpretation and a Wild Trout Trust (WTT) advisory visit.

Partners: The scheme was implemented by the Environment Agency with the co‐operation and agreement of the Easton Estate following an earlier advisory visit by the Wild Trout Trust. The WTT designed and agreed the project with Easton Estate, which provided a gardener to assist with the works through Easton Walled Garden, disposed of redundant fencing and provided safe storage of materials and plant during the project.

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The Upper River Witham rises west of South Witham and flows for more than 65 km northwards through Colsterworth, Great Ponton, Grantham, Long Bennington, Bassingham and North Hykeham towards Lincoln. More than 165 km of river and tributary streams drain the c573 km2 catchment. Over recent centuries, and particularly the last 100 years, the once naturally meandering river channels have been straightened, deepened, widened, impounded and embanked to reduce flood risk and improve land drainage. These modifications, together with catchment land management practices, have contributed to a decline in river corridor habitat quality. The Easton project seeks to address some of these issues as part of the wider Upper Witham River Corridor Habitat Plan. www.fadsdirectory.com

The Witham flows through Easton Park, which is a Grade II Listed Historic Park and Garden, so a detailed desk based survey was carried out to assess the likelihood that the project would impact upon the cultural heritage of the area. The habitat works were designed to ensure that all the material remains of the historic garden were protected.

Objectives • Reduce the impact of sediment inputs resulting from bank erosion • Trap sediment already in the system. • Improve flows and natural cleansing of spawning gravels. • Improve light levels in over‐shaded sections. • Improve habitat for trout, coarse fish and native white‐clawed crayfish. • Ensure that historic features within the Grade II Listed Historic Park and Garden are protected.


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River restoration & management The Enhancement Scheme Soft engineering techniques were used to minimise the aesthetic impact on the garden design and maximise river habitat improvement benefits. These included brushwood mattresses, faggot‐ fronted berms, log‐fronted berms and “hinged” and pinned live woody material; flow deflection using log deflectors; regrading of eroded banks, in combination with new berms, to create sections of 2‐stage channel and excavation of pools in the riverbed. Riverside fencing was also added in places preventing access to sheep which had been causing bank erosion damage and heavy siltation. Channel Narrowing A variety of channel narrowing methods were employed to repair erosion and increase flow diversity, many of which utilised woody material generated on site. Occasional bankside trees and bushes were removed to open up the river to more light and the cut woody material was used to form brushwood mattresses along the margins. The mattresses were secured using stakes and wire bindings. Adjacent to sections of reprofiled eroded bank the excess soils were used as infill.

Before

Before and after. Channel narrowing using faggot‐fronted berms infilled with earth and seeded. The adjacent eroding bank has been reprofiled and provides the infill material.

After

Several variations of the faggot‐fronted berm or enclosure were installed. Some were left open, whilst others were infilled variously with brushwood, earth and silt. In some instances faggots was used to create a new bank toe and the adjacent eroding bank was used to create a shallower slope and/or a 2‐stage channel. All but one of the earth‐ filled berms were grass seeded and some were also planted with clumps of native wetland plants translocated from the Walled Garden section of the river.

Before Before and after. Channel narrowing using brushwood mattresses. The right bank was reprofiled to create a 2‐ stage channel and the earth was used to cover the adjacent brushwood mattresses and seeded.

After

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River restoration & management In addition to faggots, ash logs were occasionally used to front the berms. The image below shows a log‐fronted berm infilled with earth and turfs.

Before Before and after. looking downstream. Channel narrowing using faggots. The downstream “enclosure” has been partially infilled with brash to trap silt and the upstream “enclosure” has not been infilled. Here silt is being trapped in the developing wetland vegetation within the faggot enclosure.

After Flow Deflectors Through some of the shallower, more gravelly, sections offset log flow deflectors have been used to create localised flow variation to increase bed scour and clean and sort the gravel bed. All the deflectors point upstream to reduce the potential for bank erosion.

Before Before and after. Sinuous channel narrowing using faggots backfilled with brash and silt within the formal walled garden. Above, shows how the extensive growth of in‐stream vegetation dies back during the winter allowing sediments to be mobilised again, 6b shows how the sediments are trapped and consolidated within the new faggot enclosure leaving a narrower, open channel.

Hinged live woody material In addition to the berms and log flow deflectors a number of riverside trees and bushes were managed to create live flow deflectors using a layering technique. The trunks were partially cut at the base, leaving a narrow bark and

After

A “hinged” sycamore being secured with stakes. 44

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River restoration & management sapwood hinge, and then bent horizontally along the bank to create a tangle of twigs and branches at and just above the water level. Stakes and wire bindings were used to secure the layered trees in position. In addition to narrowing the channel and flow deflection the branches and twigs provide important refuges for juvenile fish and invertebrates.

Pool creation Several pools were excavated in the stream bed and the excavated material was deposited either immediately upstream or adjacent to the excavation. The channel narrowing created by the deposited bed material will create scour and should ensure that the pools do not suffer from siltation in the future.

Meander regrading The channel forms a short series of very sharp, deeply窶進ncised meanders in the lower part of the reach. Here the gradient of the steeply sloping banks on the inside of two meanders bends was reduced to reconnect the river with its floodplain and prevent further incising. Excavated soils were spread thinly at the top of the bank and seeded.

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River restoration & management

River of Life Phase One complete In the last edition of Managing Water, we included an article on the the River of Life project, which is a partnership between the Environment Agency and Earth Trust. Phase one, now almost complete, began in October and included the creation of seven new ponds, two reed beds and three new backwaters. You can see the previous article by clicking HERE Before the end of the year, there will be the excavation of a further two backwaters and a fen which will be the completion of phase one. To date, over 15,000m3 of soil has been taken out of the floodplain which will help to create additional flood storage for the area.

Graham Scholey, the project’s biodiversity technical specialist from the Environment Agency said: “We are very excited by this project and the benefits it will bring to the local environment and the community. The River of Life is still very much a construction site but we have already seen herons and other water birds investigating the new wetland features. “The project’s backwaters will provide valuable fish habitat. The warmer, shallower water in the backwaters will help juvenile fish to thrive. Each backwater is connected directly with the River Thames allowing fish to swim into the sheltered waters when the River Thames is in flood”. The River of Life is a collaborative project with the Earth Trust, with much of the funding for the construction work coming from the Environment Agency. Over 2km of riverbank along the Thames have been restored to wetland features and wildlife habitats that were more typically seen centuries ago. The site will become a wild stretch of the River Thames which will help threatened wetland wildlife, improve water quality, and create a wild area of river frontage with public access.

The River of Life project is creating 5 new backwaters which will be in connection with the River Thames to provide important habitat for fish.

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As the site matures and develops, the River of Life project area will serve to complement the Little Wittenham Wood SSSI (Site of Significant Scientific Interest) and the Wittenham Clumps to create an area

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River restoration & management wildflowers and plant 2.6 hectares of new wet woodland. The Trust hopes to start this phase of the project next spring, subject to funding. The final stage will see new permissive footpaths and learning and engagement features for people of all ages. The project has captured the imagination of many local people who have donated money to the Earth Trust to carry out this fundamental work.

The fifth and final backwater under construction within Oxfordshire with both unique and significant value to wildlife. Chris Parker, Head of Land Management at the Earth Trust, said: “The River of Life project is of national significance with large areas of species poor grassland being transformed into habitats identified as being of high conservation value. In time we hope that these habitats will provide homes for a wide range of wetland and woodland species, including water vole, otter and many different species of birds, invertebrates and amphibians.” The next stage of the project will see the features come to life when the site will subsequently be planted, managed, and maintained by the Earth Trust, who will also seed the surrounding lowland meadows with

Mr Paul Hughes, a local resident said: "This seems like a fantastic project with a very wide range of benefits to the environment and the local population. It's great to see investment on a 'landscape' scale project taking place on the Thames in Oxfordshire. I can't wait to see the results, especially for wildlife." Phase one of the project will be completed shortly before Christmas. At this point the Environment Agency and the Earth Trust will endeavour to re-open those footpaths which have had to be closed whilst the construction work took place. Please check the Earth Trust website for details. The newly created habitats will be in their rawest state and much of the site will be very muddy throughout the winter. However, the new flush of growth which comes with spring should see the site green up and the new habitats spring into life. To view a gallery of images of the site under construction, CLICK HERE Tel: 02392 460111 admin@harbourclean.com www.harbourclean.com

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River restoration & management

Bedford Pumps provide Fish Friendly Flood Relief to North America

Hatzic Lake

Bedford Pumps are delighted to have been awarded the contract to supply three of their Fish Friendly pumps to the District of Mission in British Columbia, Canada. The pumpsets will be installed in a new “Fish Friendly” pumping station at Hatzic Lake in November of this year, in time to prevent the annual winter flooding. Hatzic Lake adjoins the Fraser River, the longest river within British Columbia and the tenth longest river in Canada. The new Pumping Station will pump raw water from Hatzic Lake directly into the Fraser River. The existing antiquated pumping station at Hatzic Lake has long since proven inadequate. Persistent flooding problems have plagued the area over a 65 year period, due to inadequate pumping capacity as well as channel avulsions and sediment infilling. Additional flood risk is also a factor from the adjourning Fraser River during Spring Freshet as well as storm events within the catchment area. In addition the existing pumping station is believed to have been responsible for significant fish mortalities. Bedford Pumps will be supplying three Submersible Axial pumps from their SAF Fish Friendly Range. The SAF range of pumps have been rated as “Excellent” in a trial designed to access their ability to comply with EU legislation brought into force to tackle the rapid decline in global populations of the European Eel. The rigorous tests were performed by VisAdvies BV, an independent 48

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The three pumpsets will each provide a duty of 2700l/s at 5.25m head. To minimise construction costs the submersible pumps will be installed into a wet well canister. Each pump will be fitted with Bedford Pumps’ innovative Fish Friendly impeller which enables the fish to pass through the hydraulic passages unimpeded. The design of the SAF pumps, in addition to protecting the fish will demonstrate a significant improvement in hydraulic efficiency resulting in an 8% reduction in power absorbed.

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River restoration & management

A new wildlife habitat at Medmerry for the endangered water vole

by Richard Edwards Salix

Medmerry is one of the stretches of coastline most at risk of flooding in southern England. The overall scheme involves building major new sea defences inland and allowing a new intertidal area to form between Selsey and Bracklesham in West Sussex. Salix, working as a specialist sub contractor and supplier to Team Van Oord have created important new wildlife habitat for the endangered water vole. In order to allow the existing shingle shoreline to be breached large areas of Watervole habitat would become inundated by sea water. Salix were tasked with creating new compensation habitat for the Watervoles located behind the new flood bank which was set inland. In total, over 4km of new ditch were dug and 3 hectares of reedbeds and online wetlands created.

Coir Pallets Installed on new ditches 50

New ditches for water vole created using preestablished coir pallets and planting The greatest challenge was to establish mature Watervole habitat before the existing shingle defenses were breached. A Natural England license would only allow a breach if suitable compensatory Watervole habitat was ready to re home the Watervoles. The habitat had to be ready within 12 months in order for the breach to occur in September 2013. Salix devised a range of vegetation establishment techniques based on a priority system. In high priority areas we translocated wetland vegetation and sediments from the existing ditch network. Vegetation from the centre of existing Watervole habitat ditches was carefully removed under close supervision. The vegetation was translocated into the newly created ditch network at average water level. Each particular plant species or community of vegetation was dug at different depths, translocated and placed in the new channel differently to reflect the species specific needs.

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River restoration & management Summary of Salix Specialist Involvement â&#x20AC;˘ Establish the maximum amount of habitat within a fixed budget â&#x20AC;˘ Focus techniques within key/priority areas â&#x20AC;˘ Limited donor sites of aquatic macrophytes for translocation with a very short time frame. Therefore preestablished coir pallets were used in high priority areas â&#x20AC;˘ High density wetland plug planting was required to make up the shortfall in lower priority areas where establishment of mature habitat was targeted over a longer timescale of 2-3

The new wetland Establishment of 3,000 metres of translocated material, supplemented with over 2,500metres of mature coir pallets, has been a great success creating 8km of new mature bank habitat within a single growing season. Natural England approved the habitat for release of Watervoles in July 2013 allowing the scheduled breach to

occur in September 2013. The reedbed planting has established and will evolve over time to create a mature reedbed.

Water vole ditches with excellent marginal habitat using pre-established coir Pre-established coir pallets being installed on the new wetland

A number of Youtube videos show the overall scheme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE5_cXHZBHk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqS83aZy-78

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Managing water Spring 2014  

Managing Water and its Environment

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