23 Apr 2016

Ruscombe Brook update

Cllr Jonathan Edmunds
Here is an article (which appeared in The Warbler) by Cllr. Jonathan Edmunds (SDC Ward member for Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe):
The topic of flood mitigation is very topical at the moment after record rains in December brought chaos and heartache to the north of the country and Scotland. Residents of Stroud have shared that plight in the past after the misery of the 2007 floods, but people remained resilient and got together to try and minimise the risk of this happening in the future.
It was back in 2006 that the Ruscombe Brook Action Group was formed to tackle raw sewage repeatedly getting into our brook. Working with Severn Trent and others the group have been able to get parts of the sewage system replaced and relined so that no further incidents have occurred to this date.
Cartoon by local artist, Russ
One of the huge successes from that group needs highlighting. The group, have over the years worked with other flood prevention groups in the area and key figures like Councillor Sarah Lunnon, to develop a plan to reduce flooding in the wider catchment area. After a considerable amount of work by residents, a pilot project by the Environment agency, The Severn and Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC), Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) and Stroud District Council (SDC) was established in 2011 and SDC was able to secure a project officer Chris Utley to lead the project.
The project has gone back to nature to tackle floods and help wildlife on the streams of the Stroud Valleys. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on concrete and steel structures, it has been using trees and other natural features to reduce the risk of flooding in the area. Working with local land owners and key partners such as the National Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, over 60 natural flood defence structures have been built in the headwaters of the Slad Brook and Painswick Stream. The scheme, known as the Rural Sustainable Drainage Systen (RSuds), is being funded by the Severn Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and aim is to reduce flood risk, improve water quality and restore wildlife. This excellent project can be viewed at http://stroudcommunity.tv/rural-sustainable-drainage/ or at www.stroud.gov.uk/rsuds and followed on twitter @Stroud_RSuDS.
While this approach will not end flooding, it will significantly reduce the likelihood of flooding at sites that have seen it here in Stroud in the past and I would say that this work has been pivotal in reducing the risk of seeing the scenes witnessed in Stroud in 2007 this winter. I will continue to work with colleagues to ensure that this project is continued to be supported and extended into more catchments of the Frome catchment.

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