After almost five years of research, discussion, reports and analysis Weston-sub-Edge has finally got the flood alleviation it first requested in 2007 – An Eastern By-pass. This will take the excess surface water from the eastern side of the village along the Church Street areas around the central village by-passing the inadequate Friday Street culvert to a point north of the Village Hall
The new drainage system starts at Manor Farm where surface water is directed down Church Street to a gulley feeding the new eastern culvert. This travels down the remaining length of Church Street, across the Stratford Road along Featherbed Road before branching off to join Coombe Brook downstream of the Village Hall and Bowling Club.
Along the way several new gullies have been installed to drain critical areas of Church Street and the Stratford Road.
The final design and initiative was the responsibility of Mr Laurence King the Principal Engineer for Cotswold District Council with multiple funding sources including the residents of the village.
Release Date: Nov 13, 2012Cotswold
District Council has successfully negotiated an additional £250,000 worth of additional funding formuch needed flood alleviation schemes across the district. The money is being made available by Gloucestershire County Council as a result of their efficiency savings plans being slightly ahead of schedule, allowing them to allocate a total of just over £1 million to flooding relief projects across the county.
Leader of CDC,
Cllr Lynden Stowe welcomed the financial boost: “The flood relief programme in the Cotswolds is an excellent example of partnership working involving county, district, town and parish councils, and the Environment Agency. Finally, the pieces of the jigsaw have come together. Now that all the funding is in place, we can get on and swiftly complete the right schemes – for each of the communities – to alleviate the risk of flooding.” CDC Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr David Fowles, added: ”This is fantastic news for many residents in the district. I realise that it has taken some time to get where we are now but detailed studies were necessary to ensure we could prioritise the necessary improvements to help protect residents and properties. The recent wet weather has reminded us, again, that flooding is a constant threat.” This funding, together with that committed by CDC, the Environment Agency andvarious town and parish councils will secure completion of high priority projects, including the flood relief culvert and ditch improvements in Moreton in Marsh which will significantly reduce the remaining flood risk in the town. The money will also support all the other prioritised improvements required in Chipping Campden, Weston sub Edge, Lechlade, Fairford,Northleach, Lower Slaughter, Bledington and Blockley where CDC has already set aside
funding. Additionally, flood defence works have just been completed – or are nearing completion –
Property Level Flood
Protection (e.g. flood boards, vent covers, improvements to soakaways and other property drainage) which has been fitted to eight properties at Naunton, aided by funding from the Environment Agency
A new flood defence culvert which has been laid at Lower Slaughter
A highway drainage /attenuation scheme in Northleach by the end ofOctober, where a further flood defence bund and culvert clearing are planned for 2013.
Weston Riparian and Flood Action Group
Report to the Parish Council
Annual General meeting Tuesday 24th May 2011
The WR&FAG was formed in June 2008 in response the serious flooding of Weston sub Edge in July 2007. It had become necessary to push the authorities, after many years of known drainage problems in the village, to take urgent action to prevent a recurrence. It is supported by the unpaid efforts of a small committee and a larger group of volunteers who have provided excellent support to its activities. This report is a summary of key activities of the WR&FAG and the authorities in relation to flood prevention since this time last year. We are grateful for the efforts of the Parish Council who have taken a much more robust position over the last few years to try to hold the authorities and budget holders to account.
The current position
While there has been much effort by the Parish Council and latterly the WRFAG over the year we are, disappointingly, still in the position of waiting for the final outcome of the extensive and costly analysis by Hyder, CDC and GCC. As we have always said, it is critical, for any progress to be made, to reach a final conclusion on one, or more, well thought through technical solutions before funding considerations are allowed to divert attention.
Hyder helped at some cost to analyse the nature of the water basin and established beyond doubt, what had been suspected all along, that the Friday Street culvert is too small for flood conditions. They also further analysed the suggested solutions from the PC and WRFAG and all were ruled out on the grounds of potential cost without completing the technical detail required. There was some disappointment that their technical expertise was not brought to bear to investigate solutions derived from their own thinking and creativity. We regard it as an opportunity missed. Joel Hockenhull with David Smith Parish Councillor is working on further possible solutions relating to the Friday Street Culvert and we remain optimistic that their work will deliver a workable answer by the deadline of the end of May 2011 (the commitment from Barry Gibbs CDC to Bill Carruthers the PC and our MP). We suspect that any water diversion to allow that culvert to cope will need to be supported by other, smaller, solutions further upstream to provide comprehensive cover. It is important that whoever might be affected by any solution affecting their property can see the detail of what is proposed and hopefully respond positively, and with community sprit, for fear that without that, any solution could never be implemented and a solution be forever “kicked into the long grass”. We stand by to help and support wherever we can.
The National Picture
There are three main themes – one is job cuts in the Environment Agency of up to 3000 which may not be helpful to us, and the second is a move towards “payment for outcomes” funding which allows (potentially smaller) government funding to be spread across a larger number of flood alleviation schemes which could proceed with funding from other sources. We had recognised for some time that a solution for WSE is unlikely to meet strict government cost benefit criteria (i.e. based on numbers of homes affected – although we had argued that this did not give sufficient weight to the frequency of flooding in WSE) and therefore, depending on the specific approach suggested, this can be cautiously welcomed. The third is that the “Statement of Principles” agreement between the insurance industry and the government expires in 2013. This relies on continued investment in flood alleviation. We understand that negotiations are continuing to renew the arrangement under which flooded homes continue to receive cover under certain conditions and we await the outcome with great interest! More locally we were very disappointed to hear that the resilience officer who had been a great help to us in encouraging the riparians had lost his job in the cuts.
Rob Greenslade and Chris Rossington have done some good work putting a plan into place. The emergency equipment has recently been audited and replaced as necessary and we look forward to the “dry run” of the emergency plan.
Water Level Monitoring
Led by David Smith, a brook level early warning system was installed in September 2008. He has further invested in a mains power link to make the system more reliable but sadly, at the time of writing, there was still no follow up from Hyder with information to refine its calibration. Could the powers that be reading this report from CDC please follow up to help him resolve this matter? It is an excellent system but needs calibration to ensure that alarms are generated at the appropriate water level.
Visit of Mary Dhonau OBE at the request of WRFAG 12th May 2011
We have cause to be grateful again to David Smith for arranging a talk by Mary – an independent flood campaigner (Formerly Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum) in the village hall. She gave excellent advice to those who have been affected by flooding from her own personal perspective – covering such issues as flood protection, insurance, individual flood plans etc. Her website covers similar content at http://www.marydhonau.co.uk/. It is well worth a read but if anyone does not have access please contact Rupert Brice who will be pleased to help. Mary has been a very effective campaigner at national and local level and provided some very useful advice to the WRFAG which we are following up – in terms of exercising influence over the authorities and overcoming funding problems.
Brook Clear Up planned for 28th / 29th May 2011. BBQ 7.00pm Sunday 29th May.
The clean up of Coombe Brook in July 2008 dramatically improved the flow of the brook and has been followed up in a more limited way on at least two occasions since that time. However hedge cutting (while very welcome) in the Dirty Lane / Buckle Street areas and accumulation of silt and vegetation near the village hall especially has led to a risk of flooding if debris is allowed to cause a blockage. I am very grateful for the support from the committee to arrange another clear up on the dates above. Volunteers have given their commitment, equipment purchased and a barbeque is planned for 7.00pm on Sunday 29th May at the Village Hall as an additional incentive for the helpers. (Free food but please bring a bottle) We will need additional wheel barrows and ideally grass cutting equipment if anyone is able to provide them on those days please. I would be pleased to hear from any further volunteers – however little time they can spare.
Summary and thanks
WR&FAG are grateful for the support of the Parish Council, CDC and our Resilience Officer. Our committee members have been especially dedicated and have given their time and expertise most generously. I am very grateful for that very willing and unstinting effort. My report in 2009 made this comment – sadly it is equally applicable today: “It is also critical that CDC, while they have invested significantly in analysis, now urgently follow through with [a final answer] ……..capital works to finally solve the flooding problem which has blighted the village for many many years”.
Anyone wishing to support our work can contact me on 01386 840580.
Rupert Brice, Chairman, Weston Riparian and Flood Action Group.
The clean-up of Combe Brook will take place on 27th/28th May 2011
Next meeting of WR&FAG will be Thursday 12th May with Mary Dhonau
Parish Council response to Cotswold District Council:
Parish Council Review of the Hyder Study of Weston-sub-EdgePC Meeting 27th October 2009
IntroductionThe council considered the recent Hyder hydraulic and hydrological modelling assessment dated 10th September 2009 and has concluded that the report has answered many questions regarding the origins of flooding and the feasibility of flood alleviation options.The assessment quantifies for the first time the inadequacy of the village drainage system and the magnitude of the problem facing those bodies responsible for providing an efficient drainage system.The report’s flood risk assessment map correlates well with the actual flooding of 7/07, adding to the credibility of the model and its further use to verify flood alleviation measures and to validate the early warning system.The council was pleased to note that the flood alleviation proposals of its Review of Flooding dated 7th March 2008 were analysed and for the most part validated. Disappointingly the report contained very little new thinking on methods of flood alleviation; instead it made frequent references to riparian responsibilities and the need for yet further investigation.Moreover, the report included a number of minor errors and recommended irrelevant resilience procedures for a large proportion of village properties that are at risk to rising ground water.The Parish Council response to the report is summarised by the following key points:
The report provides valuable information on the sources of flooding.
The report quantifies anticipated peak flows and the corresponding inadequacies of the drainage system.
The report examines and validates each proposal put forward by the PC working group.
The report confirms that more than one mitigation option is necessary to achieve the desired level of flood prevention.
The model offers a valuable tool for validation of the early warning system and further flood alleviation options.
The report did not include any new ideas or guidance on a specific solution to village flooding and makes repeated reference to ‘more investigation work is necessary.’
Certain water courses and culverts were not included in the assessment.
The report put too much onus on home owners, disregarding the good work done and the limitations experienced by residents in the maintenance of the drainage systems.
Weston Riparian & Flood Action GroupThe council received a written response to the Hyder report from the WR&FAG chairman, Mr Rupert Brice.This was carefully considered and council concluded that it constituted a full and accurate view of the community at risk of flooding.Mr Brice put great emphasis on the need for swift follow-up action now that the flooding problem is better understood and quantified; the action group were also keen to see statutory enforcement by local authorities for riparian owners who neglect their responsibilities. Overall there is only so much residents can do when the drainage system has less than half the peak flow capacity needed, WR&FAG demand that the village is given high priority by the district & county councils and water authorities for a permanent solution to the flooding problem for all properties.The council endorsed the document without reservation.(The WR&FAG response is attached)The Next StepsThe council appreciate that the commissioning of the report by Cotswold District Council represents a significant investment and that the hydraulic and hydrological model of Weston-sub-Edge and the basin feeding it offers a highly valuable tool for further work.The parish council request that further funding is acquired and allocated to four main tasks:
Creation of design specifications to enable pricing of the attenuation options
Validation of threshold points in the early warning brook level warning system
The enforcement of riparian responsibilities
Further feasibility studies of other flood alleviation methods to by-pass the village
Creating a funding/implementation timetable
The council along with representatives of WR&FAG urgently require an opportunity to meet with Hyder consultants, CDC, GCC and others responsible for the village drainage system to examine the points 1 – 5 above.Councillors are aware that limited funding resources often result in expenditure on the most cost effective projects which invariably excludes the small communities which are deemed to have ‘smaller problems’.The costly Hyder report was therefore well received by the community at large – raising the expectation of a solution to a longstanding problem.Failure to proceed with further action now will not only waste the money invested in the report but also make life for the residents of the village even more difficult; the report’s prediction of frequent flooding adds to the difficulties of property insurance and lowers the quality of life in the parish. The Parish Council cannot accept decision criteria for funding that excludes the parish; it will be seeking new thinking and additional ways for the raising of the necessary capital for the optimum flood alleviation measures.July 2009A Raingauge has been installed near Church Orchard to monitor the rainfall and assist in flood prediction. Already interesting results have confirmed that the floods of July 2007 were related to the heavy ground saturation prevailing at that time. There have been some heavy downpours this summer which have hardly affected the level of water in the brook . Of course we cannot ever rule out flash flooding but the raingauge will provide an early warning of dangerous ground water conditions that can lead to flooding.
Good news – the Brook Water Level Early Warning System has now been installed!
Early Warning System – Key Features (This system has now been deactivated)
• The Early Warning System measures the height of the water in the brook every hour, 24 hours a day.
• Located in the brook at Manor House Farm, the warning system has an Ordnance level 4.5 metres above Friday Street.The resulting gradient of 1:180 is sufficient to provide reasonable notice of flooding in that area.
• This location for the warning system was chosen because this section of the brook provides a natural collection point for surface water coming from both the east and west sides of the village; under heavy rainfall its narrow cross section results in large increases in the water level facilitating reliable measurement.
• The Warning System will raise a flood warning using a Short Message Service to SMS compatible telephones or Text to Voice for analogue telephones. These calls are made to the Flood Wardens who will alert vulnerable households.
• Alert calls need not be exclusive to Flood Wardens – anyone may be registered to receive the flood warning message.
• Alerts comprise an initial FLOOD WATCH warning; this signals concern and triggers an increase in the water level sample rate from every hour to every 15minutes.The second warning point is defined as a FLOOD WARNING condition.It is at this point that floodwater begins to overwhelm the brook and cause surface water to flow towards the village centre. • Anyone can access the actual water level of the brook at any time
• Expand the month and Double Click on the date of interest to see a 24 hour colour graph of the brook water level:
(Note; Y axis calibrated in millimetres)
The YELLOW band shows Rising water.
The ROSE band shows FLOOD WATCH CONDITION
The RED band shows the PRE-FLOOD CONDITION
A solar panel maintains the warning system battery even without sunshine. Level monitoring points may be adjusted on a reiterative basis.
Thanks to Mr & Mrs King for allowing the installation of this vital early warning system on their property.
The WsE Parish Council meets the monthly running costs of the system.
FLOOD Action : Stage One Is Complete before 20July 2008
A huge thank you to all the good villagers who turned out to clear Coombe Brook over the weekend 11th to 13th July.This project was financed by Cotswold District Council and supported by dozens of residents who, between them, set out to help riparian owners in providing essential maintenance to the watercourse. The good news is that the brook’s flow capacity has now been increased, thus reducing still further the risk of flooding.The exercise represents the first step in securing new funding for better village flood defences.Hyder Consulting (working for Cotswold District Council) are currently investigating the many proposals for improvement put forward by residents in the Flood Review 2007/8.The results of this analysis are eagerly awaited and our target must now be to qualify for new funding.We know that other villages and towns flooded more severely than Weston-sub-Edge last summer, but the frequency of flooding in our village has been significantly above the average.It is nearly always wrong to single out individuals for their help, particularly when there has been such a tremendous response from the community, but special thanks must go to John Robbins for his guidance and the supply of labour and equipment, Stephen Gabb for his time and equipment, the Catering Team for their excellent refreshments, and Rupert Brice (Chairman of the Riparian & Flood Action Group) for organising the whole event so carefully; his attention to the detail of our village ecology and our personal health & safety, meant that the weekend went off without incident.Well done everybody.
The clean up of the brook was complete up to Meon Cottage. June 2008:The second phase report by Hyder Consulting has confirmed that the proposals put forward by the Working Group will be assessed using a hydraulic model to determine the feasibility of the flood defense options. Meantime the action group has organised a clean up of the watercourse which is financed by the Cotswold District Council’s Resilience Grant Scheme.The brook clean up takes place on 11th, 12th & 13th July, if you would like to help in any way please contact Rupert Brice.May 2008:Following the Parish Council initiative to produce a comprehensive review of the flooding, a new action group has been formed to find a permanent solution to the flooding. Known as The Weston Riparian & Flood Action Group its aims are to
Care for the watercourse
Care for the vulnerable people of the village
Care for the future flood defences of the village
For more information contact Rupert Brice on 07786312359
November 2007: Hyder Consulting (retained by CDC) have completed their first phase of assessments covering 79 different flooded locations in the district. Weston-sub-Edge are in the top 20 worst cases, ranked at 16. This means that we will be included in the second phase of their investigation looking at possible remedies to the flooding problem. Hyder are now in receipt of our Flood Review, a document listing precisely what happened on the 20th July and what we residents believe could be done to prevent it from ever happening again.
For information, advice and help about the flooding in Gloucestershire visit: