Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

18.12.17

An innovative approach to flood risk

Tom Palmer, project design engineer at Essex County Council (ECC), on a new scheme currently underway that will significantly reduce local flood risks by using an innovative approach to leaky dams.

The Kingsmoor area of Harlow in Essex has historically experienced flooding, with properties internally damaged and access to roads cut off. As part of its Capital Flood Alleviation Programme, ECC investigated the area further and proposed a scheme to reduce local flood risk.

Working in partnership with Harlow District Council, the Environment Agency and Thames Water, an innovative approach was devised involving the construction of eight leaky dams and pond desilting works within local woods to slow flows. These are combined with an earth bund in a playing field directly upstream of the residential area to provide larger floodwater storage.

The woodland areas of Parndon and Risden Woods are both ancient woodland and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), so a sensitive and sustainable approach was developed by ECC’s Place Services following consultation with Harlow District Council and Natural England to ensure compliance and minimise ecological impacts. To achieve this, dams were constructed by hand from logs sourced directly from the wood as part of its ongoing conservation management. These were moved across the woodlands and into position using heavy horses to minimise the impact on the trees and local wildlife and to avoid the use of heavy machinery.

As well as providing flood risk reduction benefits, the leaky dams will improve local biodiversity by creating new and diverse habitats. Newts, previously present within the ponds, had left the area due to the heavy silting, and by reinstating them it is hoped they will return along with other pond flora and fauna.

The earth bund and flood storage area are also within a local nature reserve and designated green belt land owned by Harlow District Council, so consultation with them has been important to inform the design and positioning of the feature to maximise storage and reduce environmental impacts.

Part of the proposed flood storage area directly affects the nature reserve, which consists of ancient grassland. To address this, rather than providing compensatory planting elsewhere, ECC is implementing a Grassland Enhancement Plan for the whole five-hectare nature reserve area to restore and improve its wildlife interest. This represents a best-practice approach to ecological mitigation, with long-term management sustained through the implementation of a conservation grazing scheme on the bund site following its completion.

The flood alleviation scheme is costing £440,000, with £42,800 being spent on the pond-desilting and leaky dams aspects. Direct financial contributions to the scheme have been received from the Environment Agency through flood defence grant in aid, with Harlow District Council facilitating the works and undertaking the future maintenance of the bund and ponds, and implementing the management plans.

The scheme will reduce flood risk to 38 properties within Kingsmoor. Construction of the leaky dams was completed by the end of November, with construction of the earth bund commencing in early 2018. The entire scheme will be complete and operational by spring next year.

Top image: Essex County Council

FOR MORE INFORMATION

W: placeservices.co.uk

W: essex.gov.uk/flooding

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Local government finance settlement: short-term needs met with 2.4% boost

13/12/2018Local government finance settlement: short-term needs met with 2.4% boost

The annual local government finance settlement shows that the government has recognised short-term pressures facing local government — but ... more >
Salisbury City Council leader steps down due to job’s impact on personal life

13/12/2018Salisbury City Council leader steps down due to job’s impact on personal life

The leader of Salisbury City Council is to step down from the role citing the job’s impact on his personal life behind the decision. C... more >
Oxford council owes balanced budget to its wholly-owned public services company

13/12/2018Oxford council owes balanced budget to its wholly-owned public services company

Oxford City Council has owed its fully balanced four-year budget proposal – which is better than many other local authorities up and down t... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
Local government finance settlement: short-term needs met with 2.4% boost

13/12/2018Local government finance settlement: short-term needs met with 2.4% boost

The annual local government finance settlement shows that the government has recognised short-term pressures facing local government — but it is yet to solve medium to long-term financial d... more >
Local government finance settlement delayed by Brexit

05/12/2018Local government finance settlement delayed by Brexit

The announcement of the local government funding settlement has been delayed as Parliament looks to grapple with Brexit. In a statement released this afternoon, communities secretary Ja... more >

the raven's daily blog

Blog: 5 minutes with Gary Wallis-Clarke, member of the Northern Powerhouse Education and Skills Group

12/12/2018Blog: 5 minutes with Gary Wallis-Clarke, member of the Northern Powerhouse Education and Skills Group

Ahead of the upcoming networking extravaganza EvoNorth, we caught up with Gary Wallis-Clarke, a member of the Northern Powerhouse Education and Skills group, executive headteacher at West Jesmond Primary school, and its national leader of education. In our interview, Gary reveals what the Northern Powerhouse means to him and explains... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

The digital buying community is live

12/11/2018The digital buying community is live

Many of the requirements from buyers posted on the Digital Marketplace were either non-compliant or poorly worded, which resulted in challenges f... more >
A force to be reckoned with

12/11/2018A force to be reckoned with

The South Bank plan, which refers to a number of investments and proposed activities across a massive plot of land south of the River Aire, is on... more >
Less for less: the risk of 'core offers'

12/11/2018Less for less: the risk of 'core offers'

As councils across England struggle with their finances in the face of massive cuts from central government, Simon Edwards, director of the Count... more >
A two-speed England

05/11/2018A two-speed England

Central government needs to change its approach to local transport planning and investment, including by consolidating funding and maximising dev... more >

interviews

New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

05/11/2018New Dorset Councils CEO on the creation of a new unitary: ‘This is going to be the right decision for Dorset’

The new chief executive of one of the new unitary authorities in Dorset has outlined his approach to culture and work with employees, arguing tha... more >
Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

15/10/2018Keeping the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse

On 6 September, the biggest decision-makers of the north joined forces to celebrate and debate how to drive innovation and improvement through th... more >
Cllr Cutts on dealing with children’s services pressures: ‘I can’t magic money out of the air’

26/09/2018Cllr Cutts on dealing with children’s services pressures: ‘I can’t magic money out of the air’

The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council has outlined her priorities for dealing with soaring demand of children’s services and social ... more >
Nottinghamshire considers unitary shake-up proposals in a bid to balance books

05/09/2018Nottinghamshire considers unitary shake-up proposals in a bid to balance books

Nottinghamshire County Council is considering proposals to scrap its current two-tier structure for a new unitary system in order to save on... more >

public sector focus

View all News