Environmental Agency update report

Monthly reports from the Environmental Agency:

Since our last update, we’ve been working on scoping the next stage of work. This stage is the Strategic Outline Case (SoC). For this, we take our initial assessment of the options, existing modelling work, and potentially feasible options. In progressing this stage, we will come out with a Long list of options, a short list of the most viable ones and some preliminary cost-benefit analysis. This will be the best indication of the route the project will go so far. While Further work (Outline Business Case / OBC) will refine the shortlist to a single preferred option, and we can’t pre-judge what that will so in most instances, the preferred option at SoC will be the preferred option at OBC.

We have reached out on the issue of the cameras and Yelvertoft has been put forward as a place where the integration of the cameras into a community website. This integration should fix issues of the cameras not loading correctly in the medium term, and this is expected to start being rolled out in the next 2-3 months. In the meantime, though, the advice has been to try different web browsers and devices when viewing the cameras. I have tried this can for myself on PC Microsoft Edge has consistently shown the cameras operating correctly and without error. We have limited access to iPads and different phones to fully test the different options but Chrome has tended to work when we’ve tried on our end. This isn’t a long-term solution, and the issue is being raised at a national level as this isn’t the only instance of people having issues connecting to vital cameras.

We have added the current flood warning areas along the Clay Coton and Yelvertoft area to the list to be reviewed to see if the warnings can be refined. This will only affect flood warnings issued from the Clay Coton Brook but hopefully will provide some additional security. However, unfortunately, we will not be able to provide warnings about flooding from the Yelvertoft Brook as the response times are too short. Our best way forward on this is to improve the reliability and usability of the existing cameras and continue to work on the Flood Scheme to reduce the instances where that is needed.

We are starting work on additional modelling updates to the Yelvertoft Brook, and as part of that, we want to fully account for the SUDS measures currently active and those recently implemented. Those features will likely be represented as variable reductions of inflows in different return period flood events with the largest impact felt in more frequent flood events and the effect smaller, proportionally,

I also wanted to flag the frequently flooded community funding – This funding is once again available; however, the turnaround times for applications are tight. We would need confirmation of 10 properties that have flooded twice or more internally in the past 10 years. There are other requirements as well; however, those are mostly on our end and require us to be able to spend the money in the right time period. Given that can be ask for some level of proof, this can be a difficult ask. Our deadline for an application is Monday next week however to fill in the application we would need confirmation of those properties by the end of the week. This is an exceptionally tight turnaround time for flood defence funding applications however given it’s an opportunity for additional funding if we are able to find that number it would be very helpful.

February 2024

Extract: “I’ve been keeping an eye on things remotely from my end in Yelvertoft but wanted to reach out and check how things are in the village. I see the flood alert has been pulled and hopefully that outlook continues going forward. How have things looked on the ground in the village? There is the National Incident Reporting System on 0800 80 70 60 which can be used to report flooding or anything that is likely to cause flooding like a blockage in a culvert.

I also wanted to update on the work we’ve completed so far. This last week we had the first draft of the economic analysis back from the consultants. I must stress that this is a first draft of high-level work and some assumptions, that will be checking later on, have been made.

The next steps on our end are review and approve the economic work by our consultants. Immediately after that we will then make some minor updates to the model; changes which aren’t expected to significantly alter the economic results. Then we will go into the Strategic Outline Case (SoC) where we take a long list of flood defences options assess their benefits before coming up with a sort list of the best.

We’re also talking with the LLFA about a meeting. Do evenings or weekends work better for the parish council and are there days which we should avoid? I suspect that next week will be busy with incident response and the like but the week after that looks more likely.”

November 2023

Last Friday, we had the final stage of the model review for Yelvertoft to confirm our initial expectations: the existing model is suitable for an initial assessment, but amendments will need to be made to progress further beyond that. Most of this would be desktop-based work, but other parts could include additional survey work on culverts throughout the village. Any amendments that will be made are not expected to impact the flood extent significantly but are required to ensure everything is up to the required standard.

September 2023 – second update report

The next step for us is to start completing an economic assessment. ARUP, our consultant, is currently undertaking this assessment and is expecting to submit it to us for review around 3 weeks. Once we have the economic evaluation alongside the model, we’ll have more clarity on our path.

Since the last update, the consultants have worked primarily on modelling the watercourse. The consultants have made amendments to the Hydrology, which represents how much water flows through the system, and the Hydraulics, including the physical representation of the village and the watercourse. So far, the assessment has shown only modest changes in the level of risk and indicates that, broadly, our modelling has not been too far off. We still need to combine Hydraulics and Hydrology and see how they interact, but we expect we won’t see significant changes. As much of the rest of the assessments we are undertaking rely on the modelling, this is currently our priority piece of work.

September 2023

Apologies I’ve gone quiet this month. Things have been moving unexpectedly on Yelvertoft and I wanted to get everything in order to give a proper update when we knew what our plan was.

As you may be aware the EA process for new flood risk schemes involves producing a number of reports. This generally starts with an Initial Assessment before moving through the three business cases, Strategic, Outline and finally a Full Business case. As we move through the stages we gather more data, do more investigations and narrow our options down until an approved Full Business case which has a single option which we then, assuming we get approval construct.

After reviewing the information we already hold and the options we, along with the community have already we’re not going to produce an initial assessment report. Instead, we’re going to focus on getting the data and flood model to a place where we’re ready to move on to the next stage. We took this decision due to the amount of information we already have on Yelvertoft from previous studies and we were concerned that if we produced a full initial assessment report we would end up a couple of months down the line with a report that re-iterates things everything involved already knew.

With this approach we are further along the process and closer to delivering however it does mean that it will be a longer time until a written report is produced and able to be shared. Whereas before I was expecting to have something to share in the summer the autumn is now looking more likely. I can still share our progress through monthly updates and at any meetings.

In terms of meetings and how those take place. My personal preference is in person. It my be my personal bias but I find those can be more productive and getting people into Yelvertoft can help sharpen focus on the issues. That being said I recognise this can make it harder to get a date that everyone who is needed to attend. Therefore what I would suggest is that the first meeting is virtual, once we have everyone we need at that virtual meeting we spend 10 minuets at the end finding a date and time that everyone can attend an in person meeting in Yelvertoft.

May 2023