Flood risk management in the county has received a £500,000 funding boost from the Government.
Worcestershire is one of 26 Catchment Scale projects in England to be funded by a recent £15m DEFRA allocation for Natural Flood Management (NFM) projects.
The aim of the project is to hold back water in upstream areas by applying natural methods in order to 'slow the flow' and reduce the risk of flooding downstream. NFM includes coppicing riverside trees to create leaky structures in the watercourse, tree planting on steep slopes to intercept surface water, diversion of high flows into natural floodplain areas and fencing to exclude livestock from rivers and streams.
The funding, which runs up to March 2021, will also allow the benefits of different natural flood management techniques to be evaluated.
The project will focus on three core areas which are known to suffer from flood risk and water quality issues and where it is thought that natural flood management techniques will be effective; the Dowles Brook in the Wyre Forest, Barbourne Brook in Worcester City and a cluster of River Avon tributaries which includes the Badsey Brook, Merry Brook and the River Isbourne.
The project is an exciting multi-agency community focused partnership initiative involving Worcestershire County Council, Wychavon District Council, Gloucestershire County Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Natural England and
local community and environmental organisations.
A Environment Agency spokesperson said: "The Environment Agency is pleased to have been successful in securing the DEFRA funding for the Worcestershire NFM Project. The project is unique amongst the DEFRA funded NFM Pilot Projects, in that it will explore and deliver NFM in three distinct catchments; urban, ancient woodland and steep Cotswold escarpments. It also brings together a wide range of county and local authorities with national and local environmental organisations and, most importantly, local communities who are key to identifying opportunities with landowners, delivering projects and monitoring the long term benefits of Natural Flood Management."
Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member with Responsibility for the Environment – Councillor Tony Miller said: "We've been looking at more natural ways to reduce flood risk for some time but this excellent project will help us to accelerate this and do it on a much larger scale.
Whilst the Worcestershire Natural Flood Management Project will focus on the three main catchment areas, natural flood management will be advanced at other locations too and be further embedded into our tool box for reducing flood risk across the county."
The funding has also allowed the County Council to employ a Natural Flood Management Project Officer who will engage with communities and landowners to identify potential work areas and implement natural flood management techniques within the county.
For more information about flooding in Worcestershire visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/flooding