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Southwell flood alleviation scheme is taking shape

22 November 2018

Councillor Phil Rostance, Communities and Place Committee Vice Chairman Vice-chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Committee, Councillor Phil Rostance tells how the £5m Flood Alleviation Scheme to transform Southwell’s flood defences is now gaining momentum

We know that flooding devastates local communities.

Southwell has of course suffered repeated, extensive flooding in recent years.

Which is why it is very encouraging  that the £5m Flood Alleviation Scheme to transform the town’s flood defences is now gaining momentum.
We’re using natural flood management techniques to reduce flood risk alongside engineered solutions to help protect the community from future flooding incidents.

Via East Midlands, who have a good track record of engineering and drainage design, will deliver the main part of the scheme on our behalf and a dedicated project team, including a water and flood specialist, is leading the work.

Via surveyors and sub-contractors have already been out on site undertaking ground investigation and surveys to inform the robust detailed design process which will build on the extensive flood modelling work already carried out. 

It’s a real partnership effort,  including support from the local member for Southwell. Members of the Southwell project board, which also include Southwell Town Council, the Southwell Flood Forum and the Environment Agency, all met this month to discuss the initial scheme designs so far.  

Once these plans have been fully tested, we will be holding public events  to display these designs with engineering works to construct the new flood defences expected to start in summer 2019.  

Natural Flood Management measures in carefully selected areas around Southwell is also well underway.  This  work is  in partnership with the Trent Rivers Trust and the National Flood Forum, through a project part-funded by the European Union FRAMES Project.

These measures are designed to catch and hold back water running off land during times of heavy rain, releasing it slowly after the event has passed.  

Earth bunds are positioned to catch as much water running over land as possible.  The leaky barriers are designed to let low water flows pass unimpeded, but during higher flows, hold water back and in some cases divert it into ponds and storage. The bunds and leaky barriers have been built using materials present on site in an effort to maximise the sustainability of the project and to help create habitat for wildlife.  Further work is planned in the coming months.

As part of this scheme, we will be considering all the options for how these schemes will be maintained in the longer term.
The National Flood Forum is also continuing  to work with the Southwell Flood Forum and the wider community to help residents and businesses become more flood resilient. At a recent flood and road closure warden training session five new wardens were recruited and a further seven refreshed their skills.

Councillor Phil Rostance, Communities and Place Committee Vice Chairman

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