Christmas Flooding stresses the need for Sustainable Solutions
Storm Bella hit the UK this Christmas period. In the East Midlands, recent heavy rainfall meant the intense rain fell on already saturated ground, causing significant flooding across Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Seventy flood warnings were issued – over 30% of these were on the Great River Ouse. There were more than 160 flood-related calls and 1,300 people were advised to leave their homes.
Homes were inundated and people were stranded in cars, roads were closed. The flash flooding was declared a major incident
The flooding was caused by a “significant amount of rain falling in a very short period of time” – one month’s worth of rainfall (55mm / 2.1 ins) fell in less than 24 hours.
Global warming will continue to make large magnitude events occur more and more frequently in the future
Councillor Robin Stuchbury had asked the council to investigate proposals from the EA regarding “improved flood defences in Buckingham”.
Previously, dredging has been used to excavate river channels and transform rivers purely into transport networks. However, dredging has actually worsened flooding.
Dredging is no longer supported as a key method for managing flood risk by the Environment Agency. Dredging transports water so rapidly that no end of dredging or flood walls would be enough.
Flood management schemes must target the root causes of flooding. They must Work With Natural Processes (WWNP) and be designed at the landscape scale, across the whole river catchment.
Natural Flood Management offers a sustainable solution to flooding
NFM uses series’ of small natural features across the wider catchment to slow the flow of water and hold water upstream. NFM helps reduce the flood peak further downstream whilst creating new habitats to support greater biodiversity.
The new Environmental Land Payments (ELMs) grant scheme will support holding water on the land as done by NFM features.
RTCT is working with Buckinghamshire to design and deliver NFM features free to landowners in the Buckingham area. If you have land in the area on the map, contact us to find out how we could help you.