The River Wye and Lugg Natural Flood Management Project
Reducing the risk of flooding to Herefordshire communities
Using natural processes to slow the flow of water, this innovative Natural Flood Management (NFM) project aims to reduce the risk of flooding to Herefordshire communities. Through this project we are working with landowners and communities within the seven priority sub-catchments (see map below) to design ways in which we can work together to reduce flooding.
The project seeks to move away from traditional flood defence techniques. It will focus on the use of natural processes and land management measures to both slow the flow of water and store the water within upland areas, reducing the risk of flooding to downstream communities. This will be done using a variety of techniques:
- Increasing infiltration into the soils - By adopting better soil management techniques such as contour ploughing and planting cover crops, it is possible to improve the soil structure and organic matter content of the soils. This helps increase the amount of water soaking into the soils, meaning it takes longer for the water to reach the watercourse
- Slowing the flow of water - By creating features which obstruct flow across the river channel or floodplain, for example "leaky dams", it is possible to hold back water associated with higher flows. This results in lower flood levels downstream of the features
- Storing water upstream - Water can be stored within the upstream catchment and released slowly. This can be done by using existing storage areas and by creating new ponds, wetland areas or below-ground temporary water storage (attenuation) basins
The project is one of 26 catchment scale projects funded by the recent £15m DEFRA allocation for NFM projects in England. It also seeks to deliver wider benefits such as improvements to water quality, enhanced biodiversity and socio-economic benefits. We will also gather evidence through the project on the effects and benefits of Natural Flood Management.
To help deliver the project, Herefordshire Council are working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Local Flood Action Groups, local communities and other key delivery partners. These include: Severn Rivers Trust, Wye & Usk Foundation, Natural England, National Trust, National Farmers Union, Farm Herefordshire, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust and the Forestry Commission.
NFM Construction Grant Scheme
The NFM Construction Grant Scheme has been designed to provide the necessary funding to help support landowners and farmers within the projects priority sub-catchments to alter their land and water management practices in order to slow the flow of water and reduce flood risk to downstream communities.