Case Study: Natural Flood Management in Leicestershire

Natural Flood Management

Problem Overview: In a small village in Leicestershire, recent significant flooding affected multiple properties and landscapes. This village, characterised by its unique topography and watercourses, experienced a combination of surface and fluvial flooding following intense rainfall.

The main contributing factors included a combination of steep slopes directing water toward the village and inadequate culvert capacities under local roads, exacerbating water accumulation and flow into residential areas.

Oliver, FPS Consultant, met with the residents affected by the flooding and walked the site, inspecting properties and investigating the network of ditches and watercourses serving the areas in and around the village, speaking to additional residents throughout the day. The team at FPS also carried out a desktop assessment to further understand flood risk in the area and confirm conclusions from the site visit.

As part of the investigation, concept options for strategic measures were developed, to mitigate flood risk. These strategic measures are primarily based upon Natural Flood Management (NFM) and include interventions such as leaky dams, natural flood basins and the creation of flood alleviation storage within a paddock bordering the central watercourse. These options are to be developed, following engagement with local stakeholder groups.

Our Intervention: Addressing this challenge required a multi-faceted approach, led by our expert team at FPS Environmental. Our initial step involved a thorough site visit to assess the risk, damage, and understand the flood dynamics through discussions with affected residents and analysis of the water flow paths. The primary interventions proposed included:

  1. Culvert Assessment and Redesign: We identified that the existing culvert was a bottleneck, limiting water flow during peak flood events. Proposals were made for its enlargement to handle higher water volumes, paired with a strategic plan for desilting and maintenance.
  2. Installation of Flood Resilience Measures: Recognising the immediate needs of the residents, we advised on property-specific flood resilience strategies, such as raised electrical installations and water-resistant building materials, to mitigate the effects of potential future flooding.
  3. Natural Flood Management : As part of the review and project, locations were identified where leaky dams could be utilised. Leaky dams are a nature based solution that mimic natural process and involve the construction of dams within a watercourse, usually using tree branches fixed together with cable and fixed in place with driven steaks. The objective of the dams is to create areas of ponding within a watercourse to slow the flow during periods of heavy rainfall. These could be a good option for the network of ditches and tributary watercourses upstream of the village.
  4. Catchment Analysis and Management: Areas were identified for attenuating and storing water, to help slow the flow. One area in particular was identified adjacent to the watercourse which could be excavated to provide a volume of additional flood storage, increasing the capacity of the watercourse during flood events, and providing spoil which could be used for the reprofiling/bunding further back. The lower area adjacent to the watercourse could provide a functional habitat for local fauna and also improve access for livestock to drink from the stream or escape if they cannot climb the existing steep banks.  These changes will require a topographical survey and civil engineering design of the flood storage area and reprofiling works. A Section 23 consent would also be required from the LLFA and potentially and ecological survey to ensure no detrimental impact to wildlife. Further studies may also be required to ensure the changes do not result in an increased flood risk downstream. FPS Environmental Ltd are able to assist with these works.
  5. Community Engagement and Preparedness: We facilitated the establishment of a Flood Hub among the local residents to foster proactive discussions on flood risk and the implementation of mitigation strategies, ensuring community involvement in decision-making processes.

Benefits to the Community: The proposed solutions aim to significantly reduce the risk of flooding, thereby protecting properties, enhancing the quality of life, and ensuring economic stability in the village. By strengthening local infrastructure and promoting community resilience, these measures foster a safer, more prepared community.

Our Expertise: FPS Environmental brings a wealth of experience in hydrological assessments and environmental consulting. Our approach combines advanced technical methodologies with a focus on community engagement, ensuring sustainable and effective flood management solutions tailored to the specific needs and challenges of rural communities.

Learn more about it here: Natural Flood Management.

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