The award winning team at the ceremony at Highnam, Gloucestershire, on 4th October
The award winning team at the ceremony at Highnam, Gloucestershire, on 4th October

Chris Short has successfully nominated the Stroud rural sustainable drainage project (Rural SuDs) for a 2016 Gloucestershire CPRE award for ‘innovative use of natural resources, including land and water’.

Rural SuDs is a type of Natural Flood Management technique that aims to implement techniques to reduce flood risk by improving and restoring natural habitats to restore and make use of natural drainage processes. Measures include creating ephemeral ponds and wetlands to hold flood waters and remove silt, improving connectivity between water courses and flood plains and providing new habitats for wetland and aquatic species.

Chris said,

‘This is really a recognition of the work undertaken by Stroud District Council, and in particular Chris Uttley, who has developed a strong partnership across the Stroud valleys to take an creative approach to tackling flood risk.’

The pilot project has involved working with local landowners, local flood forums as well as local communities, community groups, developers and businesses. Members of local flood forums have not only visited the site but have helped in the construction of the structures and undertaken other work that contributes to the overall project. They were also willing to contribute to the film (see below) that the CCRI and University of Gloucestershire helped produce.

Map detailing the location of the Stroud Valleys project
Map detailing the location of the Stroud Valleys project

It is still early days, but of the 150 major structures that have been installed at an overall cost (revenue & capital) of £1500 per structure, changes in these water bodies has been recorded. The project has also delivered re-siting of drinking troughs, fencing, maintenance works, signage, publicity, film, interaction and communication with the local flood forums, the wider local community, attendance at public meetings and individual landowner meetings.

Overall it is very gratifying that the CPRE have recognised the role that Natural Flood Management can play in bring different partners and communities together through practical actions to reduce flooding as well as improving water quality and the environment’. It is also an excellent example of a high profile local project that the University is working in partnership with both through the CCRI and the School of Natural and Social Sciences, where Dr Lucy Clarke oversees a range of students undertaking projects across the Frome valley.

The aim of the CPRE Gloucestershire Awards Scheme is to promote high standards of development and management of land and to recognise and celebrate projects which are exemplars of good practice.  The scheme is not a competition. Rather, it is a way of recognising excellence in projects and there is no set number of Awards in any one year and CPRE invites nominations which are then reviewed by an independent panel of judges.

Chris Short gave a public lecture on natural flood management in February 2016 which can be viewed on the CCRI slideshare account.

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