21 Sep 2009

Criticisms re local flood management

Two local projects re flooding are facing criticisms from water action groups. The first in Painswick and the second in Frampton Mansell.

Photo: From The Citizen re Frampton Mansell - a pic of Tom Carey and Adam Broadhead (see more below) - both at the recent RBAG AGM -Tom is also working on a project for Ruscombe Brook with Water 21

Painswick scheme will add to flooding

I've yet to look at the Painswick scheme in detail, but basically Stroud District Council is accused of ignoring the recommendations of its own report on flooding in the Painswick Valley.

BARFF (Bridgend Against River Frome Flooding) claims that SDC has already begun clearing the Painswick stream when the report specifically states that this should be delayed until the completion of a detailed study on the rest of the Five Valleys. These issues clearly need looking at in more detail and questions need answering - while I believe the Council is making many efforts to change the way it looks at flooding to be more holistic, it would seem they may not have taken the report into enough consideration so far....

Tim Davies (BARFF secretary) says of that the £50,000 study; “It is recommended that further detailed investigations are performed to fully understand the implications of any alleviation works before they are implemented to ensure that flood risk in the wider catchment will not be increased. It is plaintively obvious – if you read the report – that more information is needed on the effects of flooding downstream. And yet SDC has ignored this recommendation and pressed ahead with the work, spending more than £40,000 to date. The council even wants to spend another £45,000 completely clearing the culvert under Salmon Springs when the report admits it has not calculated the full impact of a clear culvert. What worries us is that the Painswick Flood project will make matters worse for families and businesses downstream. And that councillors appear to have ignored their own report, which cost nearly £50,000 of public money. Why pay that amount of money and then ignore one of its fundamental proposals.”

Frampton Mansell - drain nonsense?

In March, the county installed a £45,000 drain on Martin Neville's land in Frampton Mansell to take rainwater from the lane near his home at Bakers Mill. Farmer Martin Neville and Water 21 say this large drain laid by Gloucestershire County Council will only increase that risk. He has instead dug his own flood alleviation pond at a cost of £2,000 to £3,000 to reduce the risk of the River Frome bursting its banks further downstreamin Chalford Vale.

Mr Neville said in The Citizen: "Their extensive drainage system is designed to remove water from the road under flood conditions. The design moves the water straight into the River Frome rather than allowing it to flow into meadows and the river over several days as has been the way for years. As a way of compensating for the added flow we have dug alleviation ponds. he said. These attenuation areas are a much cheaper solution to flooding than expansive engineering."

Julian Jones, director of Water 21, said of the drain: "It has fundamentally accelerated the flow of water into the watercourse and exacerbated flooding."

The County deny that the drain adds to river flows.

Julian Jones comments further at our recent RBAG AGM: "Decades of ill considered development continues in the Stroud Valleys with no attempt to plan for the consequences of putting increased rain run off into our watercourses. Approximately 1000 acres of millponds and other water storage has been lost locally during the last century with no attempt to compensate for this. Even much of the increased expenditure on drainage and 'flood alleviation' by the local authorities since the 2007 flood is simply worsening flood risks downstream because there is no attempt to plan or 'hydraulically model' the consequences of the increased run off."

This is another example where at the very least consultation has failed - indeed I understand from the farmer that no consultation took place with him!

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