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16.01.14

CIWEM calls for upland flooding schemes

More upland schemes should be introduced around the UK to improve flood protection, the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has urged.

These schemes would see floods deliberately created on hills to mitigate damage downstream. Measures such as cutting trees into rivers to stem their flow and building earth banks to run-off water should be used more often, the institute suggests.

This could reduce the regularity of flooding and lower the need for conventional, and more expensive, flood defences.

CIWEM’s Katherine Pygott told the BBC: “Flooding is getting worse with changing weather patterns, but these schemes are taking a very long time and a lot of energy.

“Projects working with nature to reduce flood risk are needed right across the country but it is complicated, with many different organisations involved and it will need political leadership from the highest level to make it happen. So far we haven’t seen that leadership.”

Farmers union NFU flood adviser Ian Moodie said: "It is most beneficial in steeper catchments where rainfall is quickly funnelled into rivers that can result in high peaks in flows. The measures are less likely to be beneficial within lowland areas such as the Somerset Levels where we’ve seen a lot of flooding in recent years.”

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