18 Apr 2010

Brook and flood news updates

The monthly Ruscombe Brook Action Group meeting was postponed this month for various reasons but below is an update on a few local issues relating to the brook and the local area that we will discuss next month along with plans for. Anyone interested in joining do please contact me.

Photo: Ruscombe Brook at The Lawns

1. Storm to foul developments: Severn Trent said at the recent meeting we had with them that they had asked Stroud District Council whether there were any new/newish developments that put storm water into foul water. They had not heard back. This could be a good opportunity to work more closely with Severn Trent to reduce sewage incidents and cut energy use. STW's recent plans at Slad and Cashes Green - although perhaps not the more sustainable solutions - are a serious investment in the infrastructure. I am now chasing an answer from SDC to see if any progress can be made on this issue.

2. Ruscombe Valley sewage improvements: As noted before Severn Trent have for the last 4 years been doing various flow monitoring, cctv work etc and have now confirmed at that recent meeting what many of us locally knew ie that the sewers alongside the Ruscombe Brook are insufficient to manage the volumes. Various points have been identified. Relining does not appear to be an option as the pipes are not large enough, so a proposal is being submitted for specialised 'pipe bursting' that will lead to replacement of sewer sections. However this is an expensive option as much of the sewer network is inaccessible to the 40 tonne truck they usually use. There are also hydraulic issues and other challenges. So we need to now wait to hear whether the plans are accepted and what level of priority the capital works will get. They include sewage storage at/near the Fire Station which would include land purshases. No news yet on this.

3. Watercourse wardens: The District have informed me this week that they are trying to arrange an update meeting for Watercourse Wardens in the near future. They could offer a place to someone from teh Ruscombe BRook Action Group to present some material.

4. Puckshole/Acres End Culvert. One further question was raised at our last meeting as to whether the Builders Yard section of culvert was cleared after the new culvert and grill was put in? The answer was: "The culvert under the builder’s yard was cleaned out as much as possible before the culvert/screen upstream was put in. This was as part of the CCTV survey which established the old culvert under the track had collapsed. The CCTV also highlighted how fragile the “oil drum lining” of the builder’s yard culvert had become and that repeat jetting of the culvert – however carefully carried out - was not thought to be beneficial following the work."

5. Wheelers Walk: One of our members has chased Highways regarding the outfall of water at times of significant rainfall from a land drain from the Wheelers Walk Estate into the brook just above Acre Place. It is a contributor to flooding at Acre Place and to bank erosion. The drain is unadopted, and with a chequered planning history. The EA are unable to take this on as the area does not come under their jurisdiction and I understand SDC feel similarly, owing to the unadopted drain. Here are some of the points Highways made:
- Permissions would need to have been granted for the drain to cross the land – so there should be a landowner agreement which might help to shed light on issues
- The outfall into the watercourse would have needed EA consent even if they do not manage the watercourse. The EA may be able to provide info.
- If the EA don’t manage the brook then this may be SDC or the yourself and the other landowner as riparian owners
- Whilst the area / outfall remains unadopted the responsibility for any issues would rest firmly with the developer. Given the issues and the chequered history that you mention it seems unlikely that the County would want to take on these liabilities, effectively committing limited public funding to something the developer as the owner should be resolving.

6. The Flood and Water Management Bill: it is now out - See here - David Drew has contributed to this legislation and it brings many useful measures forward - although doesn't go far enough in some directions. I have also made various submissions - see for example here.

7. Facebook Flood Forum: Lastly for those of you who use Facebook the new national flood forum charity has a fledgling page here. I never really use my Facebook site - after all this blog is more than enough to keep up - and recently my software has become so out of date that I can't access the site...must look at trying to sort that! However this could develop into a useful site for exchanging ideas and ways forward.

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