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National Highways Little Don Natural Flood Management (NFM) Pilot Fund Project – Update

The National Highways funded Little Don NFM Project is now well underway. The Don Catchment Rivers Trust is one of two rivers trusts nationally appointed to work in partnership with National Highways, Atkins, Chloe Palmer and landowners to co-deliver this project. The project ran as an online auction whereby landowners bidded – on the online reverse auction platform NatureBid – to plan, implement and maintain NFM measures available through the Fund.

The purpose of the project is to explore how National Highways can work with farmers and landowners to implement NFM measures to reduce flood risk on sections of the A Roads and Motorways known to be particularly vulnerable to flooding. The project is working to test whether these measures could be an alternative, or complementary solution, to the construction of traditional concrete-based flood management measures within the boundary of the strategic road network.

Phase 1 (scoping) of the project was undertaken by National Highways, Atkins and the Sylva Foundation. It including developing the fund, supporting information and bidding platform.

Flooding on the A616 highway, near to Sheephouse Wood.

Above: The smart catchment-based approach is underpinned by digital tools and technologies that have focused the project in a small area of the Little Don catchment immediately upstream from the A616 ‘flood hotspot’ on the strategic road network.

Chloe Palmer Farm & Environment supported interested landowners in scoping out NFM opportunities on their landholdings. Once finalised, Don Catchment Rivers Trust – landowner agreements were put in place as a means to award funding for the implementation and maintenance of NFM measures.

Above: Graphic showing NFM in the landscape

In total, seven participating landowners are implementing eight different NFM measure types across the 5.3 square kilometre focus area which encompasses the steep hillside uphill from the A616 highway, between Underbank and Langsett Reservoirs.
Measures include reduced soil compaction by soil aeration, mixed species herbal leys, cross-slope woodland and hedgerows, flow pathway bunds, online storage ponds, in-channel leaky barriers, headwater woody bundles and landowner innovation.

Above: recently constructed leaky barriers within channels.

Above: Soil aeration is being carried out across over 100 hectares of grassland.

  • A flow pathway bund and ditch in progress. Once completed, a flower rich grassland sward will be established to improve the feature for biodiversity.
  • Cross-slope hedgerow and woodland block creation.
  • A recently constructed leaky barrier within a channel.

A flow pathway bund and ditch in progress. Once completed, a flower rich grassland sward will be established to improve the feature for biodiversity.

Cross-slope hedgerow and woodland block creation.

A recently constructed in channel leaky barrier.

Further information about the Fund can be found by clicking the link below.

If you have any questions about the project please contact info@dcrt.org.uk or 01302 439081

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