Pioneering North East project uses nature to reduce flood risk - Natural England

The £2.1m government-funded Weardale Natural Flood Management scheme is led by the Environment Agency and is using nature based solutions to reduce flood risk.

More than 20 natural features have been constructed to bolster flood protection in the North East as part of a pioneering natural flood management project.

The £2.1million government-funded Weardale Natural Flood Management scheme, which includes a series of nature based solutions such as storage areas, wooden leaky barriers and timber fences, could reduce flood risk across 41km2 to communities including Lanehead, Wearhead, Westgate and Stanhope.

It’s also seen 150 hectares of peatland restored, will aim to create up to 75 hectares of woodland and brings a habitat boost to wildlife.

The project is led by the Environment Agency working in partnership with Natural England, North Pennines AONB Partnership, the Forestry Commission and Durham County Council with representation from the Wear Catchment Partnership, alongside local farmers and landowners.

The first set of features were completed by two landowners this summer on the Middlehope and Killhope Burns, with the next phase due to start in September. In total, they have the potential to store up to 5,150m3 of water – the capacity of more than two Olympic sized swimming pools.

At Killhope Burn, 13 leaky dams have been built across the burn to restrict the flow of water and four timber fences constructed to slow the movement of water across the landscape

At Middlehope Burn four storage areas have been created which will hold back water during heavy rain. By October, four more storage areas will be created.

Further features will be built into the landscape next year as the project continues. The work explores reducing flood risk using natural flood management techniques to communities which have historically flooded due to water running from the surrounding hills.

Posted on: 16 August 2021

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