Flimby natural flood management project progresses

11th December 2020 - Wild Rivers Catchment

Work has successfully continued throughout 2020 on our two-year natural flood management project which aims to help reduce flood risk to the village of Flimby.

We’re working with farmers and landowners in the catchment area above Flimby to develop new features inspired by nature that will store water in the landscape for longer after storms, with the aim of reducing peak river levels downstream. The NFM project is part of a wider partnership flood scheme for Flimby, being led by Cumbria Council and the Environment Agency.

Since Spring we’ve installed another ten leaky dams to temporarily hold water back after storms. We’ve also put up around 1.5 km of fencing, restoring nearly a kilometre of kested hedgerow (hedgerows planted on small embankments which enhances their flood management benefits) and aiding natural regeneration of nine hectares of woodland. Woodland has multiple benefits in natural flood management, with trees slowing the flow during storms, capturing debris to prevent it entering watercourses and tree roots improving soil condition, enabling more water to soak into the ground.

New fencing in readiness for hedgerow planting 

In August, we held an event to demonstrate our new soil aerator that farmers in the catchment can borrow. Soil becomes compacted over time and less able to absorb water, resulting in higher surface run-off. An aerator breaks up the soil, enabling more water infiltration. The event was held in line with government guidelines. It was great to see people from several farms there, who expressed a lot of interest in using the aerator.

In December, Project Officer Phil Chadwick spoke to ITV Border about the project and the benefits of natural flood management as part of their Storm Desmond anniversary coverage.

In the coming months we’ll be planting a further 6,000 trees, restoring a further 1 km of kested hedgerows and 1.5 hectares of woodland.

Monitoring effectiveness is an important part of all our natural flood management projects and will contribute to the national evidence base to inform future decisions on the use of these techniques. We’ve installed monitoring equipment at the sites of several interventions and will continue to measure the effectiveness of our work.

The Flimby Natural Flood Management project is funded by DEFRA’s Natural Flood Management Programme.