There is a history of flooding in the town of Belford in Northumberland with records of flood events dating back to 1877. The catchment area of Belford burn above Belford is ~6km2In July 2007, a large flood occurred in Belford and the villagers had had enough. An example of the local communities’ attitude would be the local press headline “Sick of sandbags and sympathy” (12th July 2007, Northumbrian Gazette). Prior to this event some residents and businesses of Belford had been hit by five flooding incidents occurring over two years, including tides of foul-smelling sewage. The July 2007 event triggered the Environment Agency to take action. 

Traditional flood defences are not suitable for Belford owing to the high cost, lack of space for flood walls and banks and not meeting the criteria for Grant-in Aid funding due to the low number of properties at risk. There was a desire by the Local Environment Agency Flood Levy team to deliver an alternative catchment based solution to the problem. With funding from the Northumbria Regional Flood Defence Committee, the North East Local Levy team and Newcastle University have created a partnership to address the flood problem using soft engineered runoff management features.  Experience has been gained in design and implementation of runoff management features at Nafferton Farm, Northumberland, where sediment traps and nutrient recovery features were first trialled. The potential to use runoff management features for flood control at source was also evaluated as part of the Making Space for Water Initiative.

The conclusion of this work gave rise to the concept of Catchment Runoff Management Plans, which manage flow pathways directly by storing, slowing and filtering runoff at source on farms. The features are multipurpose addressing water quality, trapping sediment, creating new habitats and storing and attenuating flood flow.

Paul Quinn presents Belford work at House of Commons

Paul Quinn was invited to speak on his work related to Natural Flood Management at the House of Commons Office of Science and Technology.

Last modified: Fri, 20 Jan 2012 13:45:05 GMT

Catchment management workshop held in Belford

On the 24th and 25th November 2011 Newcastle University and the Environment Agency hosted a workshop on Catchment Management: Natural flood management and joining NFM to the WFD. Over 30 people attended from varying backgrounds.

Last modified: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 14:04:05 GMT