Work begins to reduce flooding in town

Floods on the A34 from 2012

A leading nature conservation charity is teaming up with the Environment Agency and local landowners to tackle flooding and improve water quality in Stone.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will be working with the public body this autumn and winter to ease the build-up of silt in Scotch Brook which flows through the market town.

The work in the catchment, funded by the Environment Agency and in partnership with Natural England, will involve installing a variety of Rural Sustainable Drainage Schemes (RSuDS) such as placing woody debris upstream to trap sediment, as well as creating ponds which will provide additional flood storage and slow down the water flow during heavy rain.

Victoria Brooks, survey and records officer at Staffordshire Wildlife Trust said, “Flooding in the town can be attributed to high levels of silt building up in the brook, washed down from the sandy hills to the north.

“This low maintenance work is simple, sustainable, cost effective, requires minimal maintenance and fits comfortably alongside existing farm enterprises. Many of the techniques we’ll be using will also create new habitats for wildlife.”

The town has flooded several times in recent years causing major disruption for businesses, shoppers and residents alike. The worst event was in 1987 when a culvert collapsed and 80 properties were flooded.

Two culverts that carry water from the nearby Scotch Brook are thought to be the cause of the problem – they regularly fill up with silt and are prone to overflowing if there is a torrential downpour. It costs the Environment Agency in the region of £100,000 every 18 to 24 months to keep the culverts clear of silt and debris.

The Environment Agency will be looking at how the structures can be improved, whilst Staffordshire Wildlife Trust will be working with farmers in the Scotch Brook catchment to create floodwater storage and to try and reduce the amount of silt entering the brook. The Trust’s work will also help create new habitats for wetland wildlife and improve the overall water quality.

The project will contribute towards all rivers in the UK achieving a ‘good ecological status’ by 2027.
For more information contact Staffordshire Wildlife Trust on 01889 880100.