Countryside Matters 2014 - page 10-11

Countryside
Matters
8
Countryside
Matters
9
MANAGING WATER
MANAGING WATER
townofPickering,whichwasbadlyfloodedduring2007,andhasa longhistory
of flooding. Rather than constructing big walls through the town, what the
partnershiphasdone isbuildaseriesofsmallwoodydams inthe forestsabove
thetowntostemtheflow,holdingthewaterbackforshortperiods.Theyarevery
smallstructures,buttherearea lotofthem,andtheydoappeartobereducing
theriskoffloodingtothetownofPickering.
Wearestilldoingresearchtoconfirmwhethertheschemeisworking,however, last
year,despiteallthewetweather Pickering itselfdidnotsuffer. It isanencouraging
starttotheproject,whichwehopetoapplymorewidelyoncewe’vegatheredthe
evidencetoprovethat itworks.
The Environment Agency also advises local authorities
on flood risk in proposed developments. In the past, the
pressure tobuild for thegrowingpopulationhas led tosome
local authorities allowing inappropriate development on
floodplains,againsttheAgency’sadvice.During2007,mostof
thefloodedpropertieswerenew.
Latest statistics show that over95per cent of ouradvice in
relation tofloodriskanddevelopmentplanning isnow taken
onboardby local planningauthorities.Wheredevelopment is
necessarywemust ensure that flooding is notmadeworse
andpeoplearekeptsafe.
Additionally, future development on floodplains is being influenced by an
agreement theGovernment haswith the insurance industry; insurerswill not
offer insurance to properties built on floodplains after 1st January 2009 on
normal terms.Theprinciplesof thisagreement, thatexpiredat theendofJuly
2013, will behonouredby insurersuntil anewarrangement calledFloodRe is
introduced in2015.There is, therefore, averystrongsignal from the insurance
market and the mortgage lenders that new properties built on floodplains
against theadviceof theEnvironmentAgencyarenotguaranteed togetflood
insurancecover.
Climatechangescientistspredict that the frequencyandseverityoffloodswill
increase inyears to come, and theEnvironmentAgency is takinganadaptive
approach to ensure we are as ready as we can be without committing the
taxpayer to largesumsofmoneyaheadofwhen it isabsolutelynecessary. For
example,wewill designschemes insuchaway thatwecaneasily increase the
heightofdefences lateron ifweneedto.
MoremoneyhasbeenpledgedbytheGovernment intheshortterm.There isan
extra£120m to investover thenext twoyears inschemes insomemajorcities,
includingExeterwhereareasclose to theRiverExeareat riskofflooding.And
theGovernmenthas justagreedtokeepcapital investment infloodandcoastal
protectionsteady inreal terms forsixyears from2015/16.Wewillbeusing that
money, in partnership with local authorities and internal drainage boards, to
ensure that wemeet the Government’s target of better protecting 300,000
householdsfromfloodingduringthatperiod.
by
DrSamBridgewater
ConservationManager
fortheEastDevonPebblebedHeaths
andOtterEstuarySSSIs
Asthe long-term
primary landownerof
the lowerpartof the
RiverOtter,Clinton
DevonEstateshas
aresponsibilityto investigate
whatmightbedonetoprotect
communities, localbusinessesand
wildlife inthe faceofachanging
climate.Tothisend, in2009the
Estatecommissionedareport
ESTATE
ANGLE
Anatural solution
onthe long-termoptions for
drainageandfloodmanagement
of the lowerRiverOtter from
HaycockAssociates, acompany
thatspecialises inunderstanding
flooddynamics. InJanuary2013
furtherworkwascommissioned
thatclarifiedtheconditionof the
riverand itsfloodingdynamics.
InFebruary2013ameetingwas
heldtodiscussthedesirabilityof,
andconstraintsto,naturalising
theriver.Thiswasattendedby
manyorganisations includingthe
EnvironmentAgency,Natural
England,SouthWestWater,East
DevonDistrictCouncil, theOtter
ValleyAssociation, theAONB,
theWestcountryRiversTrustand
theDevonWildlifeTrust. Itwas
agreedbythosepartiespresent
thatamanagedrealignmentof
theriverthroughreconnection
to itsfloodplainwasconceptually
desirableandcouldhelpameliorate
the impactsoffloodingevents.
Itcouldalsohelptobuildnatural
resilience intotheOttervalleyto
the impactsofclimatechange,
helpmeetEngland’sBiodiversity
2020targetsthroughnatural
habitatcreation, andhelp improve
Largewoodydebrisdamonthe
mainchannelofPickeringBeck
FloodRe isamemorandumof
understanding (MoU)betweenthe
AssociationofBritish Insurers
(ABI)andtheGovernmenton
thedevelopmentofanot-for-profit
schemetoensureflood insurance
remainswidelyaffordable
andavailable.
What isFloodRe?
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