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Better becks: natural flood management

Natural flood management

The River Eden and its tributaries have flooded several times in the last decade, most notably in Storm Desmond in 2015, which saw several thousand houses in Carlisle and the wider Eden catchment inundated with flood water. At this time, the River Eden experienced the highest flow levels ever recorded on any river in England. The resulting flood damage in Cumbria from this single event was estimated to cost £500 million. Climate change science predicts an increase in the frequency and the severity of these types of heavy rainfall events in the coming years and decades, yet our modern landscape is far less resilient to high rainfall and flooding than it once was. Compacted soils and drained wetlands mean there are few places for water to be held before travelling to the floodplain. An homogenous landscape with few trees and hedgerows to resist and capture rainwater means water travels quickly down the hillside, funnelled through straightened water channels. The issues are exacerbated as rainwater erodes shallow soils and gravel, reducing water quality and causing infrastructure failure downstream.

The Fellfoot Forward area has six communities which have been classified by the Environment Agency as at risk of flooding, and in these areas Natural Flood Management (NFM) has been identified as a priority for flood risk management: Warwick Bridge and Cumrew (in the Cairn Beck sub-catchment), Croglin, Renwick, Glassonby and Gamblesby villages. The Fellfoot Forward LPS offers the opportunity to slow the flow of water to the lower Eden catchment during high rainfall events and reduce flood risk downstream. Through careful employment of natural flood management measures, site-specific solutions can work across an entire landscape to ‘slow the flow’ of water, reduce flooding and at the same time enhance biodiversity and habitats.

Browse our gallery below to find out NFM measures already implemented in the Fellfoot Forward area:

Further information

For more information, download this helpful guide, produced by Eden Rivers Trust, to find out more about NFM and its benefits.

Alternatively, contact Hilary Clark at Eden Rivers Trust directly by calling 01768 866788 or emailing hilary.clarke@edenrt.org

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