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Contents Flood Risk

MPs demand overhaul of Environment Agency flood role

UK Winter 2015/2016 floods:One of the century’s most extreme and severe flood episodes Floods play a vital role in ecosystems

MPs demand overhaul of Environment Agency flood role


Yorks 5 year Flood Plan

New Flood Resilience Action Plan gives property owners better protection from flooding Is England’s flood strategy failing

£26m Morpeth flood scheme scoops national award

Environment Agency puts in place a 24/7 transport contract for its 40km of temporary flood barrier We’ve repaired and prepared - a year after storms caused devastating floods

Floods play a vital role in ecosystems


Know Your Flood Risk launches new practical Guide to Flood Resilience Flood cameras keep eye on region’s waterways Innovation on the thames FloodSax to the rescue

SuDS Survey Results: Can a Broad Toolbox Lift Barriers to Adoption? The Hydrok HydroSlide role in the development of the Louth Flood Alleviation Scheme


River Restoration and Management

10 - 11

12 - 13 14

15 16 - 17 18



25 26 - 27


Mine water treatment scheme is reaping rewards

34 - 35

River and Floodplain re-naturalisation in the Trent catchment


Contact information

General Enquiries Tel: 0845 2 575 575

Advertising Tel: 0845 2 575 575

The £20m River Severn wildlife project


High praise for key Lincolnshire habitat scheme

Fish stocks boost for North East rivers



Uncertainty About Maintenance is Presenting Barriers to SuDS Adoption, Survey finds 28 - 29

The £20m River Severn wildlife project

Uncertainty About Maintenance is Presenting Barriers to SuDS



Surface Water & SuDS

Is England’s flood strategy failing?



32 - 33 35

36 - 37


Editorial Tel: 0845 2 575 575

Subscriptions Tel: 0845 2 575 575


Flood Risk

Flood Risk

MPs demand overhaul of Environment Agency flood role MPs from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee are calling for an overhaul of flood management in England to tackle the rising risk to communities from climate change in a report on Future flood prevention.

Five million people at risk of flooding Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Chair, Neil Parish MP, said:

"Some five million people in England are at risk of flooding. Winter 201516 broke rainfall records. Storms Desmond, Eva and Frank disrupted communities across northern parts of the UK, with Desmond alone costing the UK more than ÂŁ5 billion. We propose a radical alternative to the Government's National Flood Resilience Review's limited solutions to the current fragmented, inefficient and ineffective flood risk management arrangements.

Our proposals will deliver a far more holistic approach to flooding and water supply management, looking at catchments as a whole. Flood management must include much wider use of natural measures such as leaky dams, tree planting and improved soil management. And some areas of farmland should be used to store flood water."

New governance model

The Committee recommends a new governance model: with a new National Floods Commissioner responsible for flood management in England. S/he would agree with the Government strategic, long-term

flood risk reduction outcomes and be held to account for their effective delivery via:

New Regional Flood and Coastal Boards coordinating regional delivery of national plans, in partnership with local stakeholders. These Boards would take on current Lead Local Flood Authority and Regional Flood and Coastal Committee roles; A new English Rivers and Coastal Authority, taking on national flood risk management roles currently the responsibility of the Environment Agency.


Committee Chair Neil Parish MP added:

"Our proposed model would streamline roles and pool expertise to allow bodies to deliver their unique roles. Funding would be firmly linked to outcomes: the Commissioner would hold the new English Rivers and Coastal Authority to account on whether it spends its budgets efficiently - whether by directly undertaking work or by commissioning projects from catchment partnerships or Internal Drainage Boards. New Regional Boards would enable a close link between national plans and local aims."

The Committee recognises that it is impossible to protect all properties at all times so calls on the Government to improve help for communities and individuals to cope with and recover from flooding. The report makes proposals for immediate action, in advance of major governance reform, to improve resilience to floods.

Building regulations must be tightened Neil Parish MP said:

"Building Regulations must be tightened up to help flood proof our properties if a voluntary code is not agreed by the end of this year. Developers who flout planning rules in high flood risk areas must also be penalised."

The report recommends that:

Developers who fail to comply with planning requirements should be made liable for the costs of associated flooding across a catchment; Water companies should be made statutory consultees on planning applications, and the right to connect surface water to a sewerage system should be removed; The Government should develop by the end of 2017 a grant scheme for small businesses unable to secure affordable insurance to install resilience measures; and The Environment Agency and Met Office should develop clearer methods of communicating flood risk by the end of the year. Current descriptions of a '1 in x year' flood risk are confusing. Full report: /pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmenvfru/11 5/11502.htm


Flood Risk

UK Winter 2015/2016 floods: One of the century’s most extreme and severe flood episodes river flow and meteorological data in an analysis of the events that led to extensive river flooding in northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of Wales over a three month period.

The study, carried out by scientists from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in collaboration with the British Hydrological Society recognises that the Winter 2015/2016 episode ranks alongside the floods of 1947 as one of the two largest flood events of the last 100 years at least.

Click image for the full report

A new scientific review of the winter floods of 2015/2016 confirms that the event was one of the most extreme and severe hydrological events of the last century.

The new hydrological appraisal - ‘The Winter Floods of 2015/2016 in the UK’, published on the first anniversary of Storm Desmond (December 5th), brings together both

Storm Desmond alone caused an estimated insurance bill of more than £1.3 billion when it struck on the 5th and 6th December last year. The review also highlights that 16,000 properties in England were flooded during the three months of ‘remarkably persistent and exceptionally mild cyclonic’ activity which, along with Storm Desmond, included the major storms of Abigail, Frank and Gertrude.

Lead author Terry Marsh, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said,

“At a national scale the winter floods of 2015/16 were the most extreme on record. The November to January period was the wettest three-month sequence in the UK rainfall series – which begins in 1910. Correspondingly, river flows across much of the country exceeded bankfull for extended periods. The associated flooding was both extensive and repetitive, and total river outflows from Great Britain following the passage of Storm Desmond in December exceeded the previous maximum by a substantial margin.” The review highlights:

• That December was the wettest and, on average, the warmest on record in the UK, in records going back to 1910. • The highest ever recorded rainfall in the UK was measured when 341.4mm of rain fell at Honister Pass in the Lake District in the 24 hours leading up to 6pm on the 5th December 2015. • Record peak flows occurred at the rivers Eden, Tyne and Lune in England of around 1,700 cumecs (cubic metres per second). This volume of water is enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall in under a minute. • Other record peak flows also took place on the rivers Nith, Tweed, Clyde, Forth and Tay in Scotland and the Mourne in Northern Ireland.

Co-author Jamie Hannaford, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said,

Chinook helicopter aiding flood response in York. Photo: Environment Agency.


“Last winter’s devastating floods follow the winter 2013/2014 flooding in southern England and other severe events of recent years including the 2005 and 2009 floods in Cumbria. Understandably, this leads to speculation that flood risk is

Flood Risk

Above: Bank erosion downstream of the North and South Tyne confluence. Photo: Richard Hill / Alex Mason, Environment Agency.

Right: Road damage caused by flooding in Glenridding (Cumbria). Photo: Katie Muchan, CEH.

increasing due to climate change. There are trends towards higher river flows over the last five decades, especially in western Britain. But records are short and there is much natural year-to-year variability, which makes it hard to attribute observed trends to climate change. Nevertheless, recent modelling studies do point towards humaninduced warming having a role to play in these and other recent floods.”

Cumbrian resident Dr Ed Henderson, a co-author of the review from the British Hydrological Society, said,

“The effects of the floods are personal. Thousands of Cumbrians, like people in other flood-affected parts of the country, have seen their lives upturned. Many have experienced life-changing financial losses and incredible stress. Speaking with flood victims, the words that come out are despair, fear and anxiety - fear of flooding again and the anxiety of an approaching winter. Floods don't just take your home, the place where you should feel safe, they often take your future as well.”

Dr Nick Reynard, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology’s Science Area Lead for Natural Hazards research, said,

“Our new review clearly outlines the events of the last winter, as one of the most severe episodes of flooding to hit the UK in the last 100 years.

Communities across the country were devastated. In response we are working hard with central government to improve flood estimation, and examine how potential mitigation measures, such as natural flood management, can help us reduce the impact of flooding in future.”

The analysis in the report was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. Submitted by Dr. Barnaby Smith CEH

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Floods play a vital role in ecosystems – it’s time to get out of their way

Flood Risk

Paul Humphries Senior lecturer in Ecology, Charles Sturt University Originally published in the Conversation

Floods are often seen as a force of destruction. From photographs of crops under water and houses being swamped by swollen rivers, to stories of road, business and public amenity closures, the news during flooding understandably emphasises human loss.

But as river ecologists, we find it hard not to see the positive side of flooding. Why? Because although floods cause destruction, they are also creators, of which we are all beneficiaries.

Floods as destroyers

Rivers have played pivotal roles in most civilisations throughout human history due to the universal need for drinking water and other resources like food. Rivers feature in the mythology, religion, philosophy and culture of so many societies and also play political roles, acting as borders between tribes, states and nations.

Virtually all of the world’s major cities were founded on soils made fertile by flooding. In fact, floods – and the fertility that they bring - have been one of the most important reasons why human societies exist where they do today. But despite their benefits to humans, rivers also bring death and destruction. In terms of lives lost, the top two worst natural disasters on record are floods.

The worst was in 1931, when at least 4 million people died and almost 30 million people were affected by floods in China. In the United States, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 affected about 630,000 people and covered an area of almost 70,000 square kilometres. That flood’s destructive power was exacerbated by the failure of levees, as has commonly happened elsewhere.

geology, geomorphology and climate. When rivers flood, water moves out onto the flood plain. But so does sediment and a lot of organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus - the energy and materials that fuel river ecosystems and productive farm land. There is in fact mutual exchange of these rich materials between rivers and flood plains, which is why river flats are valued so much by farmers, and often why these areas became permanent settlements. Some fish and other animals move backwards and forwards between the main channel and flood plain too, but all benefit from the rich materials transported by flooding.

Nature over nurture

In our ambition, we think that we can live on and exploit flood plains through controlling flooding. But this has been shown time and time again to be deluded.

Since the industrial revolution, vastly ambitious and expensive engineering projects around the world have sought to separate rivers from their flood plains, to reclaim land on which to build houses or to farm, and to prevent flooding. In most cases, levees have been built to effectively raise the level of river banks. Levees have been constructed to separate rivers from their flood plains. Bidgee/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

While these reduce the incidence of minor floods in some areas, they mostly fail to stop the major ones, and generally make flooding much worse in areas downstream. Flood damage in the European Union from 2000-12, for example, cost an average US$6.8 billion a year, despite

By contrast, death tolls from Australian floods have been comparatively light. Purportedly the most lethal flood in Australia’s history was the 1852 Gundagai flood, which claimed almost 90 lives. Many drowned because the town was previously built on the lowland flood plain of the Murrumbidgee River.

Deaths and destruction occur to the extent they do because of our desire to live in the very areas that are most prone to flooding. But with living on flood plains comes risk, and sooner or later, a big flood will come.

Floods as creators

Generally, rivers flood every one to two years. It is just what they do. The reason is because of the interaction of 8

Levees have been constructed to separate rivers from their flood plains

Flood Risk

the extensive networks of levees designed to prevent flooding. Similar networks of dams and levees are ineffective at preventing large-scale flooding in Australia. Climate change is set to make the costs even higher.

Going with the flow

If we’ve learned anything from floods, it is that trying to prevent flooding, especially the big ones, is enormously expensive, rarely works and causes ecological and socioeconomic damage. There are, however, ways in which people can live and enjoy the benefits of rivers without causing damage. For example, the Yolo Bypass in Sacramento, California is a clever way of harnessing the floodplain’s capacity to buffer the effects of flooding, rather than trying to prevent flooding in the first place. The bypass, built in the 1930s, transports a large percentage of high flows away from the city, and into a reconnected flood plain. The flood plain is, during non-flood periods, used for agriculture and other activities.

Yorks 5 year Flood Plan

A new five-year plan to better protect the City of York against flooding has been announced.

The plan set out the options to reduce the risk of flooding to 2,000 properties across 10 York communities over the next five years. It looks at a range of potential flood reduction measures including; the creation of storage areas, increasing pumping capacity, raising and building new walls, raising land and building embankments. Following the devastating floods of Boxing Day 2015 which affected over 600 properties in York, the government committed £45 million to reduce flood risk and increase resilience to at least 2,000 properties at risk and keep the city open for business during major floods. Tony Andryszewski, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency said:

Flood risk is increasing in York and our existing defences have stood up well to flooding in the past, but with climate change and the threat of flooding increasing we need to act now to reduce flood risk to the properties and businesses in York.

The Yolo Bypass is California is one way of harnessing floodwater for good Researchers argue that there are many human uses consistent with periodic flooding, such as the growing of pasture and timber, but building infrastructure on flood plains is not one of them.

Solutions such as these are far less costly than trying to prevent flooding and mopping up after inevitable failure. But of course, this requires a transformation in thinking when planning the design of towns and in developing flexible agricultural practices.

Floods are reminders that nature can be both creator and destroyer. Herodotus referred to Egypt as “the gift of the Nile”. It would be wise of us to view our own flood plains in the same way: that they are the gift of our rivers.

We should learn to accept that there will be times when the landscape on which we live, farm or play is reclaimed by the river that created it. On the flipside, we can rejoice when the river spends its time confined to its banks, and make hay while the sun shines.

The funding announced by government earlier in the year is in addition to the £17 million earmarked for the upgrade and improvement of the Foss Barrier Pumping Station. Our work on the barrier has reached a significant milestone this month in the successful installation of all eight new, high capacity pumps.

Achieving this milestone means that the pumping station is able to cope with the highest flows we’ve experienced on the River Foss, providing York with an increased level of resilience this winter. Looking further ahead the ambition is to develop a longer term plan for the city concentrating on the wider Ouse catchment and exploring options such as stemming the flow and holding it in the peat on the moors and also creating storage in the washlands in the upper catchment. The Environment Agency will begin consultation with key partners and community groups on the development of this longer- t term plan to manage flood f risk across York in April next year. You can view or download the plan here.


Flood Risk


New Flood Resilience Action Plan gives property owners better protection from flooding The Property Flood Resilience Action Plan will see Government and industry help people better protect their properties from flooding.

A new, independent report launched in October 2016 will help people better protect their homes and businesses from risk of flooding and recover more quickly if the worst happens.

The Property Flood Resilience Action Plan, chaired by Dr Peter Bonfield, brings together Government and industry and establishes an action plan to ensure property owners are better equipped to prepare for flooding and get back into homes and business sooner if it does. The report explores:

• the role of building regulations and certification, in encouraging use of flood resistant construction methods; • how rigorous independent standards can provide confidence in flood products across the industry; • how insurers can further increase their support for property owners installing flood resistant measures, particularly at the repair stage.

A “one stop shop” advice web portal,, has been established to make it easier for people to find the most relevant information on better protecting their properties against flooding.

This advice – targeted at homeowners, business owners and third parties such as insurers – includes: 10

• precautionary actions to take to better protect your property from flooding; • actions to take if your property is in imminent danger from flooding; • live flood warnings; • recent case studies and research.

Furthermore, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced a new consumer guide to resilient flood repair which insurers are helping to circulate. A number of the organisations involved in the report are also already working more closely to help recently flooded homeowners – with the Business Emergency Resilience Group (BERG), part of Business in the Community, setting up flood advisory services in three local authorities hit by flooding last winter. Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

The impact of flooding on people’s lives is not just financial, it can be emotionally devastating. This new action plan brings business and government together so it will be easier for people to take action to better protect themselves and their properties. Our unprecedented £2.5 billion investment in flood defences will better protect 300,000 properties from floods by 2021. But property-level measures are key to ensuring those who are unfortunate enough to suffer flooding can get back in their homes and businesses sooner and minimise the impact.

Flood Risk

Dr Peter Bonfield said:

The Action Plan will help to give people and businesses the means to reduce the chances of their lives and livelihoods being disrupted by flooding. This is about both stopping the floodwaters getting in, and speeding recovery when it does. This action plan goes hand in hand with other recent announcements, like the broader National Flood Resilience Review. Both help ensure the country is better prepared for future flood events. Director General of the Association of British Insurers, Huw Evans, said:

Being flooded is horribly traumatic, not only because of the immediate devastation, but because drying out and repairing badly affected properties can take so long. In the wake of last winter’s floods insurers offered those affected practical help in applying for government grants and arranging for resilient repair works.

We will continue to work with the Government, Environment Agency and others on how to encourage more people to flood-proof their homes and businesses, so people can get their lives back to normal as quickly as possible.

Flood Protection Systems

Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, said:

Flooding is a devastating experience for those it affects, and this report highlights the need to use a mosaic of measures to help communities improve their own risk and resilience and take appropriate action. No one body or organisation can reduce risk entirely, and people need to be aware of the risk they are facing, sign up for warnings and take steps to protect themselves.

We know there are challenges as to why these measures have not been taken up - but working with members of the insurance industry and our partners, we want to empower people to take up measures that can help them address the impact that flooding has on their lives and livelihoods. The Property Flood Resilience Action Plan was a collaboration between central government, the Environment Agency, insurers, surveyors, materials producers, the legal profession and flood action groups. It covers assistance for flood victims, small businesses, building standards and certification, and better communication to change behaviour. In all these areas, the report looked to highlight barriers and long-term solutions to better prepare the UK for flooding.

Flow Control Equipment

Spill Barriers

Material Handling Demountable Barriers Temporary Barriers Penstocks

Flood Gates

Glass Walls

Building Protection

Demountable Flood Barrier


IBS Engineered Products Ltd

‘specialists in the design, supply and installation of flow control and flood protection equipment’

Flood Gates

Stop Logs

Glass Walls

Flow Control Systems


Is England’s flood strategy failing? New approach urgently needed from government to protect communities and stop costs spiralling

Public spending on flood risk in England is skewed towards dealing with the after effects of floods, rather than on preventing them, and the misery and damage they cause. Failure to account for the impacts of different forms of land management on flood risk is resulting in millions of pounds in agricultural subsidy being spent in ways that may actually increase vulnerability to flooding. New research from think tank Green Alliance has revealed that, in England: Nearly four times as much money (£1.5 billion) is spent on land management that ignores or even increases flood risk, than on land management that helps to prevent flooding (£419 million); and twice as much money (£613 million) is spent on dealing with the after effects of a flood than on hard flood defences (£269 million).

As well as the devastation caused to local communities, flooding in northern England in 2015 cost the economy £5 billion. If floods continue to be managed in the same way, associated damages could increase by as much as 150 per cent by the 2080s. And, in the worst case scenario, the number of people living in properties exposed to flooding could rise by as much as 98%.

A major failing of the current system is its lack of support for natural flood management methods (NFM), which have been proven to reduce flood risk when used alongside traditional flood defences. In the North Yorkshire town of Pickering, methods like creating woody debris barriers in rivers have reduced peak river flows by as much as 7.5%, which allowed it to escape the floods in 2012. 12

The report has three chief conclusions:

• The UK farming support scheme that replaces the Common Agricultural Policy should reward land management that helps to prevent flooding. • A dedicated fund for natural flood management projects should be established. This would allow enough evidence to be gathered at larger, catchment scale to demonstrate where NFM is best applied as part of flood risk management programmes. • Regional Catchment Management Boards are needed across England, to consolidate decision making powers related to flood risk in a single local body. Welcoming the report, Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director at National Trust, said:

“Post-Brexit we have an opportunity to create a system that rewards and incentivises farmers and land managers to implement natural solutions to slow the flow of flood waters. Farmers are perfectly positioned to make these small interventions in how they manage land that can have a big impact in reducing flooding, saving us all millions of pounds in the long term. Public money is needed to support farmers in delivering these public benefits. But our own work with Green Alliance suggests that it should also be possible to set up a market for services from farming that today go unrewarded, reducing flood risks, improving water quality and boosting biodiversity.

Natural flood management is effective. On the National Trust’s Holnicote estate we have worked with our tenant farmers to plant trees, create bunds to hold back floods, reinstate functioning water meadows and put back river meanders. During last week’s storms the villages of Allerford and Bossington, which previously would have suffered after heavy rain, avoided flooding largely thanks to these measures.”

Flood Risk Green Alliance

Daniel Johns, head of adaptation for the Committe on Climate Change, said:

“For too long we have ignored the impact of intensive farming on downstream flood risk. We need to manage catchments more intelligently, for food production but also to hold back and store floodwater where it will do least damage. This isn’t an alternative to continuing to invest in hard flood engineering, but a compliment, by slowing and managing flood flows so that downstream defences can do their job. Leaving the EU means we now have the opportunity to completely rethink our approach to agriculture and land management in the context of climate change, and develop policies that value natural features like healthy peatlands, woodlands and functional floodplains for the range of benefits they deliver.” Angela Francis, senior economist at Green Alliance, said:

“This analysis reveals how we are spending hundreds of millions of pounds of public money in ways that are perverse. Just by allocating current funding more rationally the government could reduce the burden on the public purse, save vulnerable communities from the misery of flooding, and increase the health of our natural environment.

We welcome the government’s announcement of £15 million of additional funding for natural flood management, and urge that it be used as an innovation fund to support catchment scale trials of these approaches. This is the only way we can understand how cost effective it could be in preventing and managing floods.” Click to read the report here:

Flood Risk

We have ignored the impact of land management on flood risk for too long Over centuries our communities have developed around rivers, to ensure easy access to water for use by populations, industry and for navigation. At the same time, landowners have straightened and dredged rivers, drained their land and removed natural features, aiming to raise agricultural output and get excess water away downstream as quickly as possible. But, in recent years, we have seen time and again the enormous cost of too much water at once flowing into our heavily populated floodplains, despite the billions spent by the government on flood defences.

Only last winter, storms Desmond, Eva and Frank caused damages estimated at £5 billion. Recently constructed flood defences were overwhelmed, such as those in Carlisle, as record rainfall came rushing off the hills. Herein lies part of the problem, but also part of the solution. The way we currently manage the land creates greater flood risk for communities. As the climate continues to warm, and the effects in terms of rainfall become ever clearer, it won’t be acceptable nor affordable in many cases to build higher and higher defences. Alongside continuing to invest in improved structures where we can, we need to harness the land to better deal with the flood water: to slow down and manage flood flows so that the defences can do the job they were built for.

Floodplains can’t do their job any more

Much of the most productive agricultural land in England is in the functional floodplain, with rich soils awash with nutrients from a history of flooding. But two fifths of the floodplain can no longer perform its natural function, as rivers are channelled within walls and embankments. It is ironic that we currently encourage farming on floodplains, through agricultural subsidies, and then we compensate farmers when this land floods. In the wider catchment, factors like heavy machinery, overgrazing, intensive burning and land modifications in the uplands, are drying, compacting and destroying soil structures. This means land is less able to absorb heavy rainfall. Fast flowing water down hillsides is washes fertile soils away into rivers, increasing costs and the demand for dredging.

So it is about time that the concept of natural flood management had a resurgence. Not as an alternative to engineered structures and downstream defences, but as a compliment to them. Natural flood management is not just about planting a few trees. It’s about taking a strategic look at the catchment and working out where and how to hold back and store flood water where it can cause least harm. We know from recent events that flooding causes little damage to agricultural land: a few hundred pounds per hectare, for example, in the winter of 2013-14. In contrast floods in urban areas causes

Daniel Johns, head of adaptation Committee on Climate Change

millions of pounds worth of damage per hectare; tens of thousands per household in insurance costs and cleanup bills; lasting mental and physical well-being impacts on whole communities; and businesses struggling to recover.

Using the land more intelligently will limit flood damage

Whilst persistent flooding, especially involving damaging sea water, can affect yields, suitable crops can survive routine floods. In the widespread flood event in 2007, which occurred in the months before harvest, farmland accounted for less than two per cent of the £3 billion in damages. Whereas homes and businesses accounted for two-thirds: over £2 billion. So the more we can do to prevent urban flooding by using the land more intelligently the less overall damage there will be. Some people might be concerned about the loss of productive land and about food security. But flooding of farmland is immaterial to whether there is plentiful, affordable and nutritious food available on the supermarket shelves, sourced as it is from around the UK and further afield.

Worthy of taxpayer support

Natural flood management offers farmers opportunities as well as compromises. Land can be used for more than one function, remaining productive but also serve the wider public interest. As we contemplate life outside the European Union there is an opportunity to fundamentally recast the system of agricultural subsidies. There is an economic rationale for paying farmers to use land to deliver public benefits. Returning floodplains to functional use, allowing rivers to slow and meander, and peatlands and soils to recover, are all public goods worthy of taxpayer support. So Green Alliance’s new report Smarter flood risk management in England places an important challenge at the door of policy makers, the farming industry and upland landowners. We need to use land to sustain the economy, but also to protect communities, and to do this we can and should use it more wisely. We need to develop policies and approaches that value natural features, like healthy soils, wooded slopes and valleys, and functional floodplains, for the range of benefits they offer. Failing to do so will come at a high price that will be increasingly hard to afford. This post is by Daniel Johns, head of adaptation at the Committee on Climate Change. Posted on 29 November, 2016 by Green Alliance blog


Flood Risk

£26m Morpeth flood scheme scoops national award The joint £26million project between the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council has scooped a prestigious national award. The Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme was named Project of the Year in this year’s ‘Constructing Excellence Awards’ which recognise the very best companies, collaborations and projects , sharing best practice and inspiring others to adopt new and better ways of working that deliver outstanding results.

The £26m Morpeth scheme, which opened last year, includes upstream storage and urban flood defences and is thought to have prevented hundreds of properties from flooding last winter when the dam operated for the first time. It is the first time a major scheme to reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses has been jointly funded and delivered by the Environment Agency and a local council in the region.

The scheme – the largest flood protection project in the north east – included £12million funding from Northumberland County Council. 14

Great example of agencies working together

Northumberland County Council Cabinet member for Local Services, Councillor Ian Swithenbank said:

This was a great example of agencies working together on a hugely ambitious engineering project.

The real key to this scheme has been the work with the community, and their input and engagement has been absolutely invaluable. The fact the scheme has already been called into action shows its value to Morpeth residents. We’re delighted the scheme has won this prestigious award.

Fantastic endorsement of hard work

Phil Welton, from the Environment Agency in the North East, added:

To be recognised by Constructing Excellence as the best Civil Engineering Project in the country is a fantastic endorsement of the hard work that the partners put into creating the very best scheme possible for Morpeth.

The judges commented that the close working relationship between the partners and with the community was key to delivering the project successfully.

Not only does the scheme protect Morpeth from flooding, it blends into the character of the town and the community have been fully involved in the development of the solution.

The flood scheme is designed to reduce the risk of flooding to 1,000 homes and businesses in Morpeth. It’s an innovative scheme which combines in town defences with an upstream storage area which has capacity to store 1.4million cubic metres of water – enough to fill 560 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Flood Risk

Environment Agency puts in place a 24/7 transport contract for its 40km of temporary flood barrier Environment Agency teams across England have been training with new temporary flood barriers, pumps, vehicles, and drones as part of Exercise Certus.

The exercise, carried out on the 11th and 12th October across the Midlands, involved around 1,000 staff, is designed to test that the Environment Agency is ready to respond more rapidly and flexibly to future flooding following the Government’s National Flood Resilience Review (NFRR).

This is a result of a £65m programme across the north of England, involving 20,000 inspections and around 650 repair projects, to restore flood defences or, as in the case of the Foss Barrier, significantly upgrade them. Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:

I’ve seen for myself the devastating impact that flooding has on lives and livelihoods. Our staff have already put a huge amount of work into helping communities recover from last winter’s floods and reducing flood risk to thousands of homes. Now we are rising to the challenge of responding to flooding as extreme weather becomes more common: In Exercise Certus our teams have been training with new kit, including flood barriers, pumps, and vehicles so that we can respond more rapidly and flexibly.

As well as new technology the Environment Agency has awarded a 1-year contract to Stobart Group to store, track, and transport its 40 kilometres of temporary barriers and other mobile equipment. The contract will include use of the Stobart Group’s network of resilience centres, distribution centres and extensive fleet of over 3,000 trucks.

We welcome the contract with Stobart Group that will make us more resilient and improve our ability to get the right equipment to the right places at the right time – helping us to better-protect more communities more of the time.

Our £65m repair programme means flood-affected communities will be protected again. Meanwhile, between January and June 2016, we completed over 120 schemes, better-protecting nearly 48,000 homes from flooding. But there is no such thing as 100% protection against flooding. It’s everyone’s responsibility to be prepared and in next month’s Flood Action Campaign we’ll call on everyone to play their part. Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

This exercise proves we have the ability to move quickly to provide support around the country in the event of a flood this winter.

Stobart Group will be working with the Environment Agency to provide a 24/7 logistics support service throughout the year assisting the Environment Agency before, during, and after flooding.

The Environment Agency has also reached a key ‘winter ready’ milestone with all those communities affected by flooding last winter now having the same level of flood protection they had before winter 2015/16.

Our £2.5 billion investment programme will better protect 300,000 properties against flooding for the long term and with new high volume pumps, four times as many temporary defences as last year, and the Environment Agency able to move rapidly to help protect homes and businesses, we’re better prepared than ever before. Andrew Tinkler, Stobart Group Chief Executive Officer, said:

Last year’s floods were devastating for many communities across the UK. I am very pleased to announce that Stobart Group will be providing support to the Environment Agency over the next 12 months and utilising our logistical expertise, skilled workforce and assets to deploy equipment as and when required.


Flood Risk

We’ve repaired and prepared - a year after storms caused devastating floods John Curtin, blog It’s now one year on from Storm Desmond, the first of the storms that brought heavy bands of rain and caused significant flooding last winter. December 2015 was the wettest month for the UK since records began in 1910. Around 16,000 properties were affected by flooding in Cumbria, Northumberland, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Herefordshire. I was in Keswick shortly after the floods and saw for myself the devastating impact flooding has on lives and livelihoods and my heart goes out to everyone still recovering. There were a number of thoughts and emotions that struck me when I visited.

Firstly the sheer scale of the impacts – streams that had become torrents leaving debris all around the riverside parts of the town to a level that was unimaginable even a day or two on. Thankfully in recent years we have seen few causalities from flooding but these volumes of water presented an immediate danger to life. Then, as with most disasters, what struck me next was the community and professional partner spirit and response. The local town hall had become the ‘flood’ HQ with groups of Environment Agency staff, volunteers and the army working tirelessly to help those affected and clean up the town. I met a squaddie struggling to hold back tears after cleaning out an elderly lady’s house – all of her belongings and memories emptied into a skip outside her house.

We’ve undertaken a full programme of repairs to restore flood defences damaged by the storms.

And that’s just what we’ve been doing throughout this year. Environment Agency staff have been working in communities affected by last year’s flooding to help them with recovery and to ensure that those communities are protected again before this winter.

We’ve carried out a £65m repair programme, involving 20,000 inspections and around 660 repair projects, which has seen flood defences restored across the north of England. I want to thank all of those armies of volunteers, Local Authority and Environment Agency teams who have worked tirelessly. Many of our staff worked in incident response roles throughout the winter cancelling their own Christmas plans to work shifts and help affected communities. We’re rising to the challenge of responding to extreme weather and floods. With that in mind we’ve done a lot of work this year to prepare:

After the flooding we have reviewed how we worked and what else we can do in the future. This year we’ve focused on training more staff to do incident roles to ensure we’re resilient. Now 6,500 staff are ready to step away from their day job and do an incident role. That makes us more resilient and flexible. Staff who specialise in regulation, policy or customer service can also learn to do a crucial incident role.

Since January we’ve completed over 130 new flood defence schemes, better protecting over 55,000 homes from flooding and we’re on track to meet our target of better protecting 300,000 by 2021.

We are prepared to take action wherever it is needed this winter. We’ve improved our flood response investing in new kit including 40km of temporary flood barriers, 250 high volume pumps, and incident command vehicles.

John Curtin meets army in Keswick

While I was there two volunteers, Graham and Carol, showed me around but also stressed just how much of Keswick was still open – they wanted to make sure people still came to support the local businesses in the run up to Christmas. These are the stories that stick with me after flooding and motivate me and our staff to help make this country as resilient as we can to future storms. 16

In October we held a major flood response exercise involving 1,000 staff training with our new barriers, pumps, vehicles, and drones. The ‘live’ exercises involved new equipment at locations across the Midlands, including at Nottingham and Lea Marston near Sutton Coldfield, and the South of England, including Shorehamby-Sea. Staff also played in incident rooms responding to simulated flooding scenarios. In November we trained with the army so that soldiers can rapidly erect our temporary flood defences where they can protect communities. The Prime Minister

Flood Risk

We’re making record levels of investment, spending £2.5 billion on new flood defence schemes. We’re using a combination of hard concrete or glass defences and ‘soft’ natural flood management - holding water back further upstream and planting trees. However, while we can work hard to reduce the risk of flooding we can never eliminate it altogether.

1000 EA staff in EXERCISE Certus

announced that 1,200 troops are on standby to help us this winter. The Ministry of Defence has made this process easier to make troops can be mobilised more quickly to support partner agencies like the Environment Agency in case of emergencies.

This is why we encourage everyone to take some simple steps to prepare. You can call the Floodline hotline on 0345 988 1188 for advice. You can find out if you live in a flood risk area by checking your postcode online on the GOV.UK website and how to protect yourself and property. It’s great that over 1.3m people are now registered to receive our free flood warnings. These warnings are delivered by phone call, text or email and give people essential time to save possessions and move away from rising flood water.

As well as advice from the Environment Agency, other experts and organisations gave really practical advice on the steps you can take to reduce the impact, damage, costs and time it takes to clear up after a flood. Those people who’ve been through flooding can share this advice, they are aware that signing up for the free warnings and knowing how to save possessions from damage can make a huge difference when coping with a flood.

Training the army to deploy temporary flood barriers

Army and Environment Agency prepare for flood response

Wiltshire based soldiers from 5th Battalion The Rifles and The King’s Royal Hussars undertook flood defence training provided by the Environment Agency in November. The exercise, called WESSEX TEAL, was conducted to ensure that troops are fully conversant in the design and construction of the latest flood defence barriers.

Following the winter flooding last year, more than 1,200 UK troops across the country have been put on 24-hour standby to help in the event of a repeat this winter.

Three battalions will be held at a high state of readiness for three months at a time and can be called upon if needed to support communities across the UK. Tasks could include erecting the temporary flood barriers, providing engineering and logistics support, and assisting with the evacuation of affected communities.

Over the last year, personnel have taken part in training exercises to make sure they are prepared to reduce the impacts of floods across the UK.

Mike Penning MP, Minister for the Armed Forces said:

“Our Armed Forces are committed and professional and are ready should they be needed to support local authorities in responding to flooding and other adverse

weather in our communities.

“We have three Army battalions, split across the country who have undertaken dedicated training to prepare them to help reduce the impacts of floods”.

Lieutenant Colonel Rod Small, Joint Regional Liaison Officer for the South West of England said: “This has given the soldiers the opportunity to physically work with the equipment so that if they get called out in inclement weather, they will have the muscle memory to go straight into it. They have also learnt how to work in support of their Environment Agency partners and I am sure that both the 5 RIFLES and the King’s Royal Hussars will be ready for the challenge should it come.” Robbie Williams, Wessex Operations Manager for the Environment Agency, said:

“As Storm Angus reminded us last week, floods happen quickly and can be devastating but we’re prepared to take action wherever it is needed this winter. We have 6,500 staff trained in incidents and 1,200 soldiers on standby to help us protect communities from flooding. Today’s exercise with the army has allowed us to test our temporary barriers so that we can respond even more quickly and efficiently when severe weather hits.


Flood Risk

Know Your Flood Risk launches new practical Guide to Flood Resilience

• Former flood victims take action and deliver practical guidance on making homes flood resilient • Many real life case study examples published, following interviews with flood victims • Guide aims to empower people to be aware, prepare and take practical precautions to reduce the impact of flooding Having just had the first anniversary of the Christmas 2015 floods approaching, the Know Your Flood Risk campaign has launching a new edition of its free Homeowners’ Guide to Flood Resilience, which has been created by former flood victims, Mary Dhonau OBE and Carly Rose, to provide practical guidance on the steps required to make a home resilient to flood water.

Mary has spent the last year interviewing people who have been affected by flooding and who have since made their homes flood resilient. This includes Mr and Mrs Buttery, a couple from York who have been flooded 10 times and, following a number of resilience measures, can now get their home back to normal within one hour. Another is Sue Cashmore from Cockermouth who, having been flooded several times – including water reaching 7ft in one flood event, has used funds from a Government grant to make modifications to her home, which makes recovery much quicker. Adds Mary:

As Mary Dhonau, Chief Executive of the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign explains:

“As I see it, our Guide greatly complements the resilience action plan that was launched by Floods Minister Coffey last week: the drive from government has been that you must protect your property from flood, yet where on earth should people start? We’ve launched a new edition of the Homeowners’ Guide to Flood Resilience to give those at risk much needed practical information, which includes a design of a flood resilient prototype home that walks readers through all the interventions that can be taken.

Our work contributes to the recommendations in the action plan, in particular the need for rigorous independent standards with proper certification processes, that enjoy support across the industry, so that consumers or householder have confidence in both the flood products they buy and the services they procure.

Having been flooded myself on many occasions I know just how appalling flooding is and the hardest part is the recovery. With people spending an average of nine months out of their homes after a flood occurring, I’ve made it my personal mission to help people reduce this time and by taking the steps included in the Guide, recovery time can be dramatically reduced.” 18

“Via Know Your Flood Risk, I am on a personal mission to help people be more aware of their risk and take practical steps to become flood resilient. Being aware, having a plan and taking precautions to reduce our own risk is half the battle. Whilst it may not always be possible to stop flood water getting into a home, my hope is that by reading this Guide, people at risk can understand what they can do to reduce the awful aftermath and recover far more quickly than in the past.”

The new Guide is designed to make people aware, prepare and take practical steps to reduce the impact that flooding can have on their lives. It contains the resilient home prototype design, eight new case study interviews with flood victims from affected areas such as Cockermouth, York, Kendal and Leeds, all of whom have put measures in place to prepare for flooding. In addition, there is helpful guidance on all the UK’s risk management authorities to explain ‘who does what’ in the event of a flood, plus useful overviews regarding Flood Re and the range of property-level products that are today available to homeowners.

The Guide was launched in advance of the Environment Agency’s #floodaware fortnight campaign, which began on the 1 November 2016 and encourages the public to be aware and prepared for potential flooding. To download a free copy of the new edition of the Homeowners’ Guide to Flood Resilience, visit For more information, follow the Know Your Flood Risk campaign on Twitter. To download the guide, click here

Flood Risk





Emergency pumping kits: light, simple and quick to use. Supplied in an easy carry case, with a choice of three pumps, quick release connections , 20 metre hose kit and 2 packs of Floodsax door.



'RRUSURWHFWLRQVWULSVͤWVWKHJDS between a door and its frame. Water activates the gel in the strip to expand and create an effective flood barrier. One pack can be stored in a drawer ready for use!

Sandless sandbags: each one weighs less than 200g dry but swell up to 20kgs on contact with water to provide an ideal barrier for low level flooding.

RRP: from £14.99 per pack (18 pack carton)


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Floodmate 1 (BPS100 pump): RRP £199 Floodmate 2 (LSC1.4S pump): RRP £515 Floodmate 3 (Honda pump): RRP £665


Flood barrier system: easy and simple to use formed by connecting interlocking XQLWVLQVHULHVZKLFKͤOODQGSURWHFWDV the flood rises. Can also be used for FRQWDLQPHQWVDQGWUDIͤFPDQDJHPHQW RRP: from £260 (1 linear metre) Tel: Freephone: 0800 0924423 Email: Fax: 01622 355019 Prices are excluding VAT and carriage.

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Submersible residue pumps that can be used in conjunction with other flood defence products to minimise flooding in a property.

Flood Risk

Flood Mitigation Across the UK lood Mitigation Across the UK Improvements to flood protection for over 50,000 properties around the Humber estuary have been boosted by government funding of ÂŁ86 million for projects in East Yorkshire.

deliver a challenging tidal project for the Environment Agency with the installation of 16,000 tonnes of rock armour over a 1km stretch of the Dutch River.

The work at Goole is one of several flood mitigation projects across the UK on which WM Plant Hire have worked with EA framework contractors JN Bentley this year.

One such project in Goole has seen improvements to the banks of the Dutch River, involving piling, rock armour and the construction of a reinforced concrete flood wall. This work is scheduled for completion in spring 2017.

WM Plant Hire has provided JN Bentley with a range of specialist long reach excavators with experienced Operators to help deliver the strengthening and flood bank stabilisation scheme using machines with a reach of up to 24 metres. The team have been able to

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Flood Risk

Flood cameras keep eye on region’s waterways the cameras have made a major difference already to the field teams who can now work across the region more efficiently, and play a key role in our response to incidents.

A network of cameras will be keeping an eye on the region’s rivers this winter as part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing drive to help keep people safe from flooding.

A total of 12 cameras have so far been installed near debris screens at key sites across the North East including Acomb near Hexham, Chester-le-Street, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Morpeth and Stockton-on-Tees, and a further five are in the pipeline. The cameras provide staff at the Environment Agency’s incident room in Newcastle with real-time images which gives them information on water height and an early alert on blockages in waterways. Project Executive Gary Cutter said


He said: “During incidents the field teams would visit these sites as a precautionary measure to check that water was flowing freely and the screens were not blocked with debris.

“Thanks to these cameras, we can now carry out real time checks, helping us to cut down on unnecessary visits and make sure we are concentrating on those sites where there’s a risk. “During a flood, every minute counts and we want to make sure that we are where we are needed to help reduce flood risk as quickly as possible.”

The cameras have infra-red capability so they can take pictures at night and in some places are camouflaged to prevent vandalism.

The Environment Agency already has monitors on many waterways across the North East which sends back information on water flows and heights.

However some are unsuitable for this type of monitoring and so it has placed the cameras at locations where there is currently no telemetry, but where a blockage could have a major impact on homes in the area. There are also two mobile cameras which can be used in any area and connected to the system in case a particular area needs to be monitored, for example monitoring the progress of temporary repairs.

Flood Risk It is part of the Environment Agency’s work to ensure communities are better protected and more resilient against future flood events, following last winter’s devastating floods. The announcement of this project coming to fruition comes during the Environment Agency’s 2016 flood awareness campaign, which runs from 1-11 November. The campaign is calling for people to learn what to do before, during and after a flood.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:

“Flooding is an ever present risk and everyone has a part to play in protecting themselves. You can find out if you are at risk online, and sign up to free flood warnings, which provide vital time for people to get themselves, their loved ones and their possessions out of harm’s way. Simple actions such as moving possessions upstairs before a flood can save an average of £6,000 in damages, so the notice that a flood warning can give is really important.”

FloodSax saves flood-hit sports stadium from closing

A sports stadium in a major UK city was faced with a major problem when it suffered a potentially devastating leak in its plant room.

The water was threatening an internal sub station that could have shut down the entire stadium, potentially costing it thousands of pounds in lost business.

quickly carried them to the plant room, activated them using water and built them into this wall to bring the flooding quickly under control. Work to repair the leak could then be carried out, the day was saved and the stadium remained open throughout the drama.

FloodSax managing director Richard Bailey said: “It just shows the need for flexible sandless sandbags that are viable and proven alternatives to

traditional sandbags. This scenario showed the need for speed to resolve the problem quickly and effectively.”

* An effective way to protect your home or business from floodwater is to have a box of FloodSax sandless sandbags in your home or business. They are available from the 600 Travis Perkins stores nationwide in the UK or online at

Getting masses of sandbags to the scene would have been a logistical nightmare but the day was saved by FloodSax sandless sandbags.

Instead of lorries loaded with sandbags taking several hours and incredibly hard work to shift them, a couple of workmen drove 400 FloodSax to the scene in a van,


Surface Water Management

Surface Water Management By Mark Goodger,

Regional Technical Manager, Hydro International Stormwater Division

Could a greater acceptance of proprietary systems as part of a broad SuDS toolbox facilitate more widespread adoption of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) across the UK? The results of the Engineering Nature’s Way SuDS: The State of the Nation Survey 2016 have been published and make fascinating reading: - not least because they reflect the views of professionals actively engaged in delivery of SuDS.

In our survey, we asked professionals working day-to-day with SuDS about their attitudes to proprietary systems. The vast majority (77%) agreed that proprietary SuDS are an essential part of the SuDS toolbox. Most (70%) believed that proprietary SuDS can facilitate Green Infrastructure, and 63% agreed that they can facilitate the long-term maintenance of SuDS features.

I would commend anyone involved in SuDS delivery to read the survey report and especially the selection of over 250 personal comments made in addition to the 13 questions answered. The detailed comments also reflect opinions that a greater acceptance of proprietary systems could facilitate wider uptake, although a few still demonstrated a view that SuDS should be ‘as natural as possible’.

The respondents were evenly split about whether proprietary systems should only be considered for a drainage design after ‘soft’ options are eliminated. However, the majority (63%) did not believe that proprietary SuDS should be considered only as a last resort.

Any drainage system must be precisioncontrolled to achieve measurable performance targets. Otherwise no-one knows if the surface water drainage system is working as designed, or when it should be maintained. Drawing from a full toolbox of SuDS techniques helps to achieve sustainable objectives while addressing site-specific conditions, the soil and ground conditions and

SuDS Survey Results: Can a Broad Toolbox Lift Barriers to Adoption? the topography of a site. Using proprietary systems can help to set out a predictable and repeatable maintenance schedule.

It’s clear that most of our respondents – professionals designing and seeking approval for SuDS developments and those reviewing and approving them – saw the value of proprietary systems, be they Hydro-Brake ® Flow Controls, underground modular storage and infiltration, or silt, sediment and pollutant removal, as enablers and facilitators of SuDS objectives. The four pillars of SuDS, as set out in CIRIA’s SuDS Manual (C753), stress that SuDS are not just about controlling surface water flooding, but also about protecting environmental water quality, while creating and delivering amenity to local communities where possible.

While above-ground, ‘natural’ systems may be the romantic ideal, a pragmatic engineering approach will help to successfully deliver those four pillars in as many developments as possible. Unfortunately, SuDS can still be misinterpreted by the general public, national media, and politicians.

There has been progress to see that proprietary systems, especially treatment devices, are now included in the SuDS Manual (C753). Following the publication of this important update in guidance, the realignment of the use of proprietary treatment devices was a significant step forward. However, our survey showed that many professionals, while welcoming the guidance, are still unsure about whether the manual would change their approach to design and construction. There is still much work to be done.

For more information, visit To enquire about products and services from Hydro International, call 01275 337937 or email


Surface Water Management

The Hydrok HydroSlide role

in the development of the Louth Flood Alleviation Scheme

The market town of Louth, on the River Lud, has suffered from flooding on many occasions, most recently in 2007. Louth is in a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;flashyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; catchment; in the 2007 floods it was said that residents went to bed with river levels high but not expecting any problems, and woke at 2am to find that they were flooded. This is backed up by the hydrograph on the northern of the two main tributaries, which shows the peak flow occurring after 12 hours and flows returning to normal after 25 hours. Atkins was commissioned to conduct a feasibility study into the viability of a flood defence scheme. This paper begins once the preferred option of two online flood storage areas was identified; the brief from this point was to develop their outline design. The maximum allowable outflow (to prevent flooding) for each storage area had been calculated as a part of the preceding hydrological study, and therefore was known at the start of the design. The exact volume of storage, being dependent on the method of controlling flows, had at this stage been calculated assuming no additional flows were impounded.


Extract from a paper by David Scopes IEng MICE, Engineer at Atkins Ltd, Peterborough

The control structure design of the project required a balance of two factors: maintenance and storage. Using options with no moving parts (fixed weir, orifice, vortex type flow control etc.), which solely limit the flow, result in increased storage, but are able to offer very low maintenance costs. Conversely, low storage can be achieved through the use of a mechanical and electrical setups, however these would have significant maintenance costs and potential reliability issues.

Accepting some moving parts, and therefore maintenance, allowed the Hydrok HyrdoSlide to be considered. A HydroSlide consists of see-saw on a pivot with a plate at one end and a float as the counter balance at the other. As the water level increases the float rises causing the plate to close across the orifice opening and restricting outflow . Although it has a moving part, the discharge curve holds tightly to the optimum discharge, plus or minus five percent.

Surface Water Management

The other advantage of the HydroSlide is that it is adjustable by up to 30% during an event (via a spindle) to increase or reduce flows as required. This means that if the actual downstream maximum allowable flow is found to be different than that predicted by the mathematical model due to insufficient data, a change in the structures, or a blockage, the problem could be overcome without having to wait for the flood to subside. The ability to provide the more refined level of flow control, with relatively little maintenance, and the advantage of postconstruction in-event adjustment led to the HydroSlide being adopted. To download the full article by David Scopes click here. To discuss how the Eliquo Hydrok HydroSlide solutions may be appropriate for future projects contact Dave Armstrong 01726 861900,

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Surface Water Management

Uncertainty About Maintenance is Presenting Barriers to SuDS Adoption, Survey finds LACK of a clear framework for the maintenance and performance of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) is seen by professionals as a key barrier to effective delivery and adoption, a national survey has found.

The results of the research, conducted by Engineering Nature’s Way, the knowledge-sharing initiative for SuDS, also revealed that most (79%) of respondents working with SuDS day-to-day believed the UK Government is not fully committed to long-term delivery, and 72% believed it had not committed sufficient funds for satisfactory flood resilience.

SuDS: The State of the Nation 2016 sought the views of professionals working with SuDS at the ‘grass roots’. As the Government prepares for a review next year of the effectiveness of delivering SuDS through the planning system in England, the survey generated more than 360 detailed responses from consulting engineers, local authority professionals and developers across the UK. The majority of respondents (69%) believed that uncertainty around the maintenance and through-life performance of SuDS components is presenting barriers to adoption. Most (73%) also believe more standard technical guidance is needed on the long-term maintenance of SuDS components.

“The survey provided an unprecedented level of personal insights from professionals working ‘at the coal face’ with SuDS, with over 1000 additional comments offered,” 28

explains Phil Collins, European Sales Director of Hydro International.

“Strong concerns were expressed about the lack of a clear national framework for maintenance and adoption, together with uncertainty over which authorities or organisations should be liable for SuDS components over their lifecycle. Comments suggested a lack of confidence amongst some authorities about taking over ownership of SuDS from developers. “There were also worries about the lack of arrangements in place for inspection of SuDS post-construction and for monitoring their ongoing performance, as well as for enforcement if SuDS features are not maintained as designed. Some people felt that a clearer national policy is needed to place a duty on public authorities, including water companies, to adopt SuDS.” Proprietary SuDS

While over half (56%) of respondents believed that it is too easy for developers to avoid implementing SuDS, the vast majority (73%) agreed that designing from a full SuDS toolbox would facilitate a sustainable approach. Most also agreed that proprietary SuDS components are essential to the SuDS toolbox (77%), and can facilitate Green Infrastructure (70%) as well as help to ensure the long-term maintenance of SuDS features (63%).

Surface Water Management

Most (68%) agreed that affordability should not be a valid reason for developers to gain exemption from SuDS and 60% agreed that making SuDS compulsory would not compromise the viability of developments. Phil Collins continues: “We are grateful to everyone who completed the survey. In particular, it was pleasing that so many people took time to provide detailed insights in their additional comments to the survey questions.

“The comments have provided a deep professional insight into the frustrations felt by many professionals working with SuDS, either as design engineers, or in local authorities. I would commend anyone to read the survey report to get a picture of the issues experienced by people from day to day.” Important new regulations and technical guidance have been published during the past 12 months for England, Scotland and Wales. The SuDS: The State of the Nation 2016 survey, which was conducted between March and May 2016, also investigated whether or not industry professionals believe current policy and practice is now sufficient to enable them to deliver effective flood risk and surface water management schemes.

Most respondents (61%) welcomed the new standards and guidance now in place for designing SuDS schemes and considered them to make widespread uptake more likely. However, there were some concerns over the complexity of some industry guidance, as well as the consistency of application and interpretation of standards across the country.

The Engineering Nature’s Way initiative provides a forum for best practice information and opinions on SuDS policy and practice in the UK, co-ordinated by Hydro International. It is centred on a popular website and Twitter feed @engnaturesway.

More than 16,000 consulting engineers, housebuilders, developers, local authority professionals and Environment Agency staff were invited by Engineering Nature’s Way to answer the survey’s 13 questions as well as to provide additional comments. For a copy of the survey results visit

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River & Wetland Management

River and Wetland Management

High praise for key Lincolnshire habitat scheme A project to restore vital habitat, boost river ecology and reduce flood risk has been praised by the Environment Agencyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chief Executive Sir James Bevan after he paid a visit to the site.

Sir James saw first-hand how the scheme will improve conditions in the upper Witham for invertebrates including native crayfish, fish like wild brown trout, and even small mammals such as endangered water voles in the upper River Witham. He accompanied Environment Agency officers to the site at Grange Farm near Grantham, where the river has been restored to a more natural form by bypassing a disused weir.

A new winding 640 metre long channel has been created to re-connect the upand downstream parts of the river; this will help join up isolated groups of wild brown trout, bolstering populations by helping the fish migrate and spawn.

Excavating a new, meandering river channel using natural river design principles. The old channel is in the background under the trees.

The project also restores habitat badly needed by water voles, which are now the most endangered mammal species in the UK. Nearly 90% have disappeared in the last seven years, mainly due to habitat loss and predation by American mink.

Plus, the channel has been reconnected to the floodplain and its length has now been increased by almost a third, or about 150m; this additional meandering shape will help maintain water levels in dry spells and slow the flow when levels are high, helping naturally reduce flood risk to Grantham and other areas downstream.

Initial surveys have shown the improvements have already had an impact, as wild trout populations in the river have increased since the schemeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s completion.

The project has presented a chance to pilot techniques which could be applied elsewhere in the catchment, including in the urban area of Grantham, as part of an ambitious plan with partners to improve the Upper Witham river corridor.

Environment Agency Chief Executive James Bevan

There are many challenges facing our countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rivers, and after considerable investment the rivers in England are the healthiest for 20 years.

This project is an impressive example of how we can work collaboratively with others to improve and protect our natural heritage. The Environment Agency, with our partners, will continue to develop schemes like this one to achieve multiple benefits for people and the environment.


River and Wetland Management

The £20m River Severn wildlife project

A major new wildlife project to reopen the mighty River Severn has secured almost £20 million of funding – £10.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £6 million from the European Union LIFE programme. The scheme will re-open the mighty River Severn and its major tributary for fish and wildlife whilst reconnecting millions of people and local communities with the lost natural, cultural and industrial heritage of this magical river.

This is the largest project of its kind ever attempted in Europe and will reopen the UK’s longest river to all fish species, many of which became extinct in the upper reaches following the installation of weirs required to power the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. The work will remove blockages and secure the long-term future of many of the UK’s declining and protected fish species by substantially increasing access to important spawning grounds. Work to install the first of seven state-of-the-art fish passes will begin in 2017, and the project will take approximately 5 years to complete.

Lynne Farquhar, a Conservation Advisor at Natural England, tells us more about the project Britain has some magical, mythical and fascinating migratory fish species. Many of you will be familiar with the mighty Atlantic Salmon which travels thousands of miles and back to its natal river to spawn. But how many of you have heard of the humble shad? Essentially an overgrown herring –( a member of culpeidae family and closely related to herrings) - twaite and allis shad has played a hugely important role in the history and ecology of the River Severn.

was economically vital to the Severn Valley up until the time of the Industrial Revolution. For the River Severn’s ecology the Industrial Revolution spelled a heart attack. Within three years of installing navigation weirs in 1843, and the passing of the Severn Navigation Act, the natural heritage of the UK’s longest river had been choked and many fish including shad, once so plentiful and economically vital to the Severn Valley, became extinct.

Shad in the River Severn

The UK breeding shad populations are largely unique to the Severn Estuary and the rivers that flow into it. Because of this they are protected as “species of community interest” under the European Union Habitats Directive. The Severn Estuary Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the River Usk SAC and the River Wye SAC are all designated for species including shad and are a notified feature of the River Teme Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The UK population of Twaite shad is in critical condition because of limited access to inland breeding areas.

Twaite shad (Alosa fallax). Credit: Wye and Usk Foundation

The important history of the shad

Shad spend most of their life at sea, but are born in fresh water. They are known as the ‘May fish’ due to their spectacular migrations into freshwater rivers every May. Once so abundant in the Severn they were a cornerstone of the local communities along the river and used for food, fertiliser and animal feed, and their sale value exceeded that of salmon and accounted for more than 1/3 of the total of all fish caught from the Severn. River Severn shad were famed all across Europe and regularly shipped to the Empress of Russia and other princes because of its taste and quality. In the 13th century twaite shad from the Severn were highly prized, and they were also a favourite dish in the court of Henry III. The shad 32

The River Severn is the UK’s longest river

River and Wetland Management

The partnership

In 2013 an exciting partnership project was developed and led by Severn Rivers Trust, Canal and Rivers Trust, Environment Agency and Natural England to address the blockages in the UK’s longest river to help secure the long-term future of many of the UK’s declining protected fish species. This included the most challenging - twaite shad - by substantially increasing access to the critical spawning grounds they require to complete their complex lifecycles. The project sought to improve the status of shad species both locally, within the Severn Estuary SAC, and at a national level and help secure the long-term future of many other fish species including allis shad, salmon, coarse fish, eels and lamprey. Crucially, the project will also re-connect millions of people with their lost natural, cultural and industrial heritage, with over 6 million people today living within close proximity of the River. In 2014 I took the helm locally with support from Randy Velterop Natural England’s Senior Fisheries Specialist to provide technical advice on twaite shad to support the development of an ambitious Heritage Lottery Fund & European Union LIFE bid.

• Improved local community participation and schools reengagement with their river through citizen science and learning events across the region. • The UK’s only ‘Shad Fest’ and England’s only fish viewing gallery at Diglis Weir, Worcester, helping to tell the story of the mighty River Severn and its magical and captivating fish species.

Work will be undertaken on 7 weirs to enable fish to move more easily up the river. Credit: Canal and River Trust.

more easily up the river. Credit: Canal and River Trust. The best part about this partnership project for me is working with committed and passionate people and working with communities towards the same improved environmental outcomes for endangered species.

By reconnecting people with the river and the shad this project will raise awareness of the value of our UK river systems, not only enhancing biodiversity, tourism and fishing, but ensuring the River Severn system is protected for future generations to enjoy. Our natural and historic heritage is an important piece of our economy, past, present and future.

Leaping salmon. Credit: Environment Agency.

What the project will bring

Two years on we have just been given the green light for this £19.4 million project. The largest of its kind in Europe, with funding from HLF (£10.8m) and EU LIFE Programme (£6m). This fantastic partnership project will help deliver:

• Ongoing recovery of some of our most vulnerable migratory fish species within the River Teme SSSI, River Severn and Severn Estuary SAC by restoring the historical spawning range of important species like the twaite shad and other migratory and coarse fish.

• Return over 200km of historic spawning habitat to the shad enabling them to run up the river in May, as they used to in Medieval times, in their tens of thousands.

This is a really exciting example of what partnership working can achieve. The ambition and scale of this project, to restore over 250 km of historic spawning and nursery ground and support 2 species of shad, as Tony Bostock, chief executive officer of the Severn Rivers Trust, said:

This exciting project meets the aims of the Severn Rivers Trust and our partners in protecting and enhancing the Severn catchment. It will deliver multiple benefits to fisheries interests, anglers and a great many local communities along the Severn and Teme. The state-of-the-art fish passes will truly unlock the UK’s longest river and together with proposed habitat improvements provide greater resilience to climate change and other pressures in the future.

James Cross, chief executive officer of Natural England 33

River and Wetland Management

Mine water treatment scheme is reaping rewards There’s early indications that a £3.6m mine water treatment scheme is reaping rewards after lots of fish were found in a once heavily polluted bright orange watercourse in Saltburn-by-the-Sea. During recent Environment Agency monitoring surveys at Saltburn Gill the water was running clear and fish stocks – including juvenile brown trout, bullheads and a juvenile flounder - were spotted.

The encouraging signs come just months after the new Saltburn mine water treatment scheme was officially opened on 1 July. The £3.6million scheme was funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and was carefully designed by Coal Authority experts, in partnership with the Environment Agency and Defra, to address pollution problems caused by historic mining operations. It started operating during 2015.

Before and after images of the water colour at Saltburn Gill.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

“The water in Saltburn Gill is now running clear and it is fantastic to see fish like the brown trout and European bullhead returning to these rivers.

“I am delighted Defra funded this scheme which has made a huge difference to the natural environment, so future generations are able to enjoy these waters once more for years to come.”

The Environment Agency’s Richard Jenkins, Team Leader of the North East Analysis and Reporting Team which carried out the surveys, said:

“Our rivers are the healthiest they’ve been for 20 years and schemes like this are playing an important role in ensuring water quality improvements continue.

“Certainly the results of this survey is excellent news and an early indication that the great partnership work to improve the gill is making a 34

difference for this generation and generations to come.

Environment Team at the Coal Authority, added:

“We’re carrying out a number of ecological and water quality investigations over the coming months and years to monitor any improvements.”

“This means we are preventing over 100 tonnes of iron from entering the Saltburn Gill and the North Sea every year.

“There appears to be a positive biological response to the work, but there’s still a lot of investigation to do. The monitoring is part of a much wider project looking into the restoration of the watercourse.

Tracey Davies, Head of the

“We are delighted with the excellent performance of the system, as it removes in excess of 98% of iron from the raw mine water before the cleaned water is released into the local waterways.

“It is schemes like this that will help us create even more effective and

River and Wetland Management

sustainable mine water treatment sites elsewhere in Britain and we have estimated that stopping this iron entering the water at Saltburn-by-the-Sea has the potential to add £10.5million into the local economy over the next 25 years.” The area of East Cleveland saw large scale deep mining for well over 100 years. When local ironstone mining operations stopped in the 1960s, the pumps that removed water from the mines were turned off and removed.

Water made its way into the old mine workings and eventually reached the surface in 1999. Although not harmful to people, the iron ochre caused severe pollution to both the Skelton Beck and Saltburn Gill, discoloured the beach and sometimes caused an orange plume to form in the North Sea.

A community group – Saltburn Gill Action Group – worked with the Environment Agency and Coal Authority to gain funding to investigate options to clean up the pollution and together they secured the necessary funds from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to address the issue for the community.

The Environment Agency’s Jess Anson carries out a survey at Saltburn Gill.

Image of a trout found during recent surveys at the Gill last month.

Fish stocks boost for North East rivers Fisheries experts have released more than 5,000 fish into North East waters as part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing plans to develop and restore rivers.

The barbel were released, in October, into the River Skerne near Darlington, and at Clow Beck near Croft to help restore fish stocks and improve angling.

The Environment Agency releases fish into our waterways annually. Fisheries officers target fish stocking activity using data from national fish surveys to identify where there are problems with poor breeding and survival.

Environment Agency fisheries officer Paul Frea, who introduced the fish to their new home said:

“We’re pleased that we can provide these fish for stocking as part of our commitment to rod licence paying anglers.

“Restoration and the creation of new fisheries for all people to enjoy is a very important aspect of our work.” The River Skerne above Darlington has suffered from poor water quality and habitat degradation in the past, but a concerted effort by the Environment Agency has helped to turn this watercourse around.

The fish all come from the Environment Agency’s Fish farm at Calverton, in Nottinghamshire, where around 450,000 fish are produced to stock rivers across the country each year.

Fisheries Technical Specialist Paul Frear releases the barbel

Many of our industrialised rivers have improved dramatically in water quality in the last 30 years and concerted restocking has accelerated the restoration of natural fish stocks and viable fisheries.


River and Wetland Management

River and Floodplain re-naturalisation in the Nick Mott, Staffs Wildlife Trent catchment Dr George Heritage, AECOM Seb Bentley, AECOM

Laser scanning for the digital terrain models

The River Trent, and its largest tributary, the River Tame, have had a rough time in the recent past! Large conurbations - including Stoke-on-Trent and the UK’s second largest city, Birmingham - developed in the headwaters of both rivers have taken a heavy toll. Until a few decades ago the Tame and Trent were biologically dead rivers - two of the dirtiest watercourses in Europe polluting signicant areas of the North Sea. Tough legislation introduced in the 1970s has helped improve water quality year on year. However, another major problem was that these rivers have been engineered into uniform, deep, straight, single thread conveyance channels and effectively disconnected from their traditional floodplains.

Central Rivers is a wide ranging partnership that was set up in 1997 with a strong vision to integrate the regeneration of these river valleys into a multi-functional landscape - an attractive patchwork of lakes, wetlands, naturalising rivers, farmland and settlements and a destination for people to work and play. The main catalyst for realising this vision comes from an unlikely source: mining! Staffordshire is the largest producer of land-won sand & gravel in the UK and the vast majority of the aggregate is quarried from the Central Rivers area. Via the project, we are able to ‘re-build’ ecological networks of new oodplain habitat. Each quarry has a restoration plan to maximise the benefits for wildlife and people. The final challenge has been to restore diversity and biocomplexity back into the monotonous river channels and to connect them to these wonderful new wetlands created by quarrying.

Water Framework Directive objectives for this ‘failing waterbody’. Staffordshire Wildlife Trust led on the initial six kilometre restoration work carried out between Croxall and the Catton Estate in partnership with a team of hydromorphology experts from AECOM, JBA Consulting and the University of Salford. Since 2009, a series of ongoing reach restoration schemes have been carried out along this area of focus. The work has been a great success. It has demonstrated how to restore a degraded and monotonous watercourse to create a diverse and functional uvially in uenced landscape. It has also helped to improve water quality through the natural management of one sediment which is now being deposited across seasonally - inundated wetlands rather than continuing to accumulate in the main river channels. This has led to a recovery of gravel based morphology within the channel, most notably where ow spreading allows material to drop out and local flow concentration then winnows these sediments to reveal the gravels, providing signi cant morphological and hydraulic habitat improvements. The project partners - led by the recommendations of the science team- placed river morphology and dynamics at the foundation of the restoration approach. The design encourages the river to do the work and to ‘build its own habitat’. This has allowed much more to be achieved with limited money than would otherwise have been possible. The audit and modelling approaches were designed to deliver results at an appropriate scale to integrate with developing desired river, riparian and floodplain habitats.

The project partners have completed reach renaturalisation at several locations including an innovative two kilometre river widening scheme at Dosthill and Middleton Hall quarries near Tamworth.

Opportunity mapping completed in 2007 identified a continuous fifteen kilometre stretch of the River Trent that was an ideal candidate to focus reach restoration effort and that would make a significant contribution to EU 36

River and Wetland Management

• The River Trent project led by the Central Rivers Initiative and the science team was a 2015 European River Prize Finalist • Key partners include: Sta ordshire Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Sta ordshire County Council, Hanson, Aggregate Industries, Tarmac, RSPB, National Forest Company and Local Authorities

Catton river re-naturalisation sequences

The biggest driver was to restore connectivity to the floodplain in acceptable locations as this was seen as the most important factor in system recovery and allowing it to re-naturalise. Importantly, reach scale restoration work was placed in the context of catchment processes to ensure a sustainable approach was developed. Strong science gave regulators con dence in permitting the innovative approaches for river restoration adopted at the sites.

• Science team led by AECOM, University of Salford and JBA Consulting

Importantly, detailed monitoring programmes have been initiated that are utilising drone surveys and laser scanners to capture morphological and sedimentological response over time, alongside more detailed auditing and post-project appraisals recording ecological response. This shows a significant commitment to learning lessons (both positive and negative) that can be applied to further works throughout the catchment in the future as well as providing and sharing information with other practitioners, planners, regulators and decision-makers. Initial monitoring results suggest a transition from an impoverished bankside vegetation community dominated by ruderal species towards a more diverse assemblage of wetland and riparian plants. Local gravel bed recovery is also evident as part of the development of a mosaic of features in the channel with a cleaner coarse bed evident across higher energy low areas and deposition of ner sediment on the lowered floodplain and in the anastomosed channel network.

We want the river valleys to continue to develop into a major visitor destination replete with canoe trails, hiking trails, bike routes, wildlife observation towers, camp sites, visitor centres, outdoor activity centres and forest schools. River and floodplain re-naturalisation continues to be the key to unlock the area’s potential.

River Restoration proposed & completed 1998-2015. Annotated map Dec 2015

Article courtesy of ECRR


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