Following the latest flood in December 2020 we are still waiting for the full report from the Environment Agency. We have been advised that the draft report has been seen and the final report will be ready very soon.
It is understood from the draft report that the Environment Agency has acknowledged three ways in which we can address the flooding problems
- increase water storage on Crick Road
- natural flood management
- property flood resilience
The Environment Agency believe a balance between all three should be able to provide a solution that is cost beneficial and deliver’s more comprehensive environmental benefits.
When I saw earlier this year that DEFRA was providing £100 million via the Environment Agency to fund frequently flooded communities, I firstly looked into whether we qualified, which we did, then I wrote to the Environment Agency, West Northants Council and Chris Heaton Harris MP to see if we could be considered for any of this funding.
Unfortunately, I received a negative reply from the Environment Agency via Chris Heaton Harris but I have again written to explain that I am not happy that the decision has been made using old data and not the data from the recent flood in 2020. We are also unaware of a 50 year plan to support Yelvertoft with our flooding problems. The Parish Council have applied to see what evidence they had to make this decision through the Freedom of Information Act.
We must as a Parish Council look into every possible way we can to support and help the community.
The three suggestions from the Environment Agency –
Item 1 – to increase the flood storage area on the Crick Road.
This would be very costly and estimated in total at £7m so we are very much in the hands of the Environment Agency and West Northamptonshire Council for this funding. We must continue to push for this solution.
Item 2 – Natural Flood Management.
We must all understand how Natural Flood Management works and how it will help alleviate the flooding in Yelvertoft. We know that Yelvertoft has flooded for as long as the River Avon has flowed into the Bristol Channel. Yelvertoft sits at the head of the Avon Catchment Area which is a huge area of land covering Naseby, Cold Ashby, West Haddon, Winnick and Crick and all the surface water flows down into the brooks and the streams which then meet up and form the River Avon. Natural Flood Management is a way of managing the land to ‘slow the flow’ of surface water during periods of very heavy rainfall, giving time for the surface water to get away down stream. Very successful examples of Natural Flood Management are in the Lake District and can be viewed on the ‘Slow the Flow’ website. Since working on flooding for the council I have had many conversations and site visits with representatives from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Severn Trent, and the Environment Agency who are working with the landowners in the Avon catchment area and encouraging Natural Flood Management techniques to slow the flow of surface water running down into Yelvertoft Brook, a tributary of the River Avon.
The Parish Council owns the land on the Crick bridleway known as King George’s Field and the Allotment Field. I have this week received notification from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust that we have been awarded £5k towards the Natural Flood Management of the King George’s Field and Allotment Field project we are working on. This is in support of what they see as an excellent project for the environment, biodiversity and the community and will demonstrate the techniques of Natural Flood Management.
I am informed by my contacts with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Severn Trent that landowners in Winwick and the surrounding area are coming on board with Natural Flood Management and there are now at least two new holding lakes plus leaky dams in Winwick and progress, although slow, is definitely being made.
The Solar Farm, as part of their design, are also using Natural Flood Management in the form of swales and ditches which if the calculations are correct should also slow the flow of surface water on the site and hold it back, taking pressure off the Crick Road Flood Storage Area. I will be visiting the site to monitor the works on flood alleviation throughout the construction period.
Each time a landowner installs some form of Natural Flood Management within our area, pressure is taken away from the flooding which occurs in the centre of Yelvertoft.
Item 3 – Property Flood Resilience.
This is something we will look into as soon as we see a copy of the full report from West Northants Council. We will be looking for support in both advice and funding.
We are continuing to work with the Environment Agency, West Northamptonshire Council, Severn Trent and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust along with landowners to secure further funding to alleviate the flooding problems and support for the residents and community of Yelvertoft.
Cllr Cottle, 14 November 2022