Pilot project could help prevent flooding in Peter Tavy, Walkhampton and other villages

Tuesday 2nd April 2019 7:00 am
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The flood which engulfed Peter Tavy in 2016 — picture by Dick Nicklin. ()

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A PILOT project between Dartmoor National Park Authority and the Environment Agency could prevent flooding in local villages.

The Dartmoor Headwaters Natural Flood Management project will be looking at ways to reduce the risk of downstream flooding in periods of intense, high rainfall.

It will look at the effectiveness of using natural river processes, land management techniques and soft engineering approaches.

Wider benefits of the measures implemented, proposed by the two organisations, will include improved soil health and water quality and opportunities to enhance the biodiversity of the upper moor.

The pilot is running until March 2021 and will focus on five areas, including the river catchments of Peter Tavy and Walkhampton. The project has a budget of £834,000, from the DEFRA flood risk prevention fund, for the delivery of natural flood management measures for the five sub catchments of Mardle, Dean Burn, Peter Tavy, Walkhampton and the Hanger Down area of the River Erme catchment.

These sub-catchments have been chosen as they are all small in size (all less than 13km²), have a mixture of open access and agricultural land, are steep and have rapid onset of flooding.

They all contain small rural communities where a ‘traditional’ engineered scheme will not be viable due to high costs and there is potential to influence land management linked to the reduction of flood risk.

Within the five catchments chosen there are 84 properties at risk of flooding.

Kerry Smith, Dartmoor Headwaters Natural Flood Management project officer, said: ‘The project aims to work in collaboration with landowners in each catchment to identify the issues and implement practical measures to help slow down water and to create temporary storage areas in high flows. These measures could include things like: addressing compacted soils and run-off, creating infiltration pits, reconnecting the river to the floodplain, riparian tree planting, peatland restoration, gully blocking, stone attenuation dams, new hedges and banks to deflect water, wetland creation, river restoration and buffering and vegetated swales.’

The project will also be running an online auction in early summer, which could give landowners money to carry out flood prevention work on their land. Landowners will be able to submit online bids for funding for a variety of measures, chosen from a list of priority natural flood management measures for their catchment, saving time and cutting out paperwork.

Look out for further information on the launch of the auction in the local press in the near future.

For further information on the project, contact [email protected] or call the project officer on 01626 831027.

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