Defra gives Thames21 Natural Flood Management projects £200,000 boost

Thames21 and partners have received £200,000 for four new Natural Flood Management projects in North London, from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

London’s leading waterways charity Thames21 and partner organisations Brunel University, Thames Chase Trust and the London borough councils of Enfield, Hillingdon and Harrow have developed the projects, which aim to reduce flood risk while improving the rivers for both people and wildlife.

The four projects are Salmons Brook (Enfield), River Pinn Park Wood (Hillingdon), Two Headwater tributaries of the Silkstream (Harrow) and Rise Park Stream (Havering).

The projects will be supported by a PhD hosted by Brunel University, which aims to guide the work through modelling and monitoring the benefits, thereby contributing to the national Natural Flood Management agenda. Each project will work closely with local volunteers and communities to develop the scope of works.

Natural flood management is needed because flooding – affecting people and properties – is set to increase drastically with the effects of climate change.

The traditional hard engineering solutions are often no longer viable to protect homes, meaning new methods to manage river catchments are required. This approach aims to work with nature to help resolve and reduce the negative impacts of flooding to peoples and properties.

These techniques can include land management with farmers, rainscapes (sustainable drainage systems) within urban areas as well as installing wood in rivers to hold the water higher up in the catchment away from people’s homes, where it can improve wildlife and river catchments.

Work on the detailed plans on the projects is due to start early next year. The work is likely to be phased, starting with River Pinn Park Wood and Salmons Brook, followed by the projects in Harrow and Havering.

Each of the projects has been granted £50,000 from DEFRA’s Natural Flood Management Communities funding, with match funding coming from Local Authorities and other sources. Overall, the Government has committed £15 million to Natural Flood Management funding nationwide.