Natural Flood Management Scheme: £2 million awarded to Weardale

£15 million has been set aside in government funding to help the development of natural flood management projects across the UK. Weardale in County Durham is one of 58 locations that will benefit from this flood defence scheme.
A total of £2 million will be spent on innovative techniques such as, restoring peatland, creating woodland and grazing marshes, and integrating small temporary storage areas into the landscape. These techniques will be put into place over a 100 square kilometre area, which will help reduce the risk of flooding in the areas of Killhope, Ireshopeburn, Stanhope, Middlehope, Rookhope and Wearhead
The scheme will improve the health of five tributary streams of the River Wear, which were badly damaged by mining, this will develop better and safer habitats where wildlife can thrive once again. Developments to help bring woodland and peatland back to life will help capture carbon from our atmosphere.

The scheme has been well received by county councillors, John Shuttleworth and Anita Savory. John said: “This is incredible news. The places that will benefit are all places that have been severely damaged from flooding in the past.” Anita also said: “It is great to see that some of the funding has been given to Weardale. Flooding can cause total chaos and destroy homes and livelihoods in the process.”

The Environment Agency has already created 1,500 flood schemes and the government’s natural flood management scheme will help build even more projects that will protect more than 300,000 homes by the year 2021.

Improving the natural function of catchments, floodplains, rivers and coasts in order to reduce the flow of running river water as well as decrease surface water run-off is known as natural flood management. Measures of natural flood management include techniques such as: capturing run-off in uplands and planting trees, restoring floodplains, and using shingle or sand to protect the coast.

Many local farmers, landowners and communities will help dictate how the project is constructed and enforced. This will help make sure that the techniques that are put in place will meet the overall primary needs of the community.

The Weardale natural flood management scheme is a partnership project which will be shared between, the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission, Durham University, Durham County Council, Natural England, Newcastle University and North Pennines.