First of five schemes to reduce flood risk starts in Norfolk

Map of the five Norfolk locations. Pictures: EA

Map of the five Norfolk locations. Pictures: EA - Credit: Archant

Environmental chiefs are working with nature to protect Norfolk's communities from the damage caused by flooding.

Marlingford work site, showing an example of a completed NFM scheme. Pictures: EA

Marlingford work site, showing an example of a completed NFM scheme. Pictures: EA - Credit: Archant

Work has already started on the first of five natural flood management schemes on the county's rivers.

The scheme helps store flood water upstream and slows the flow of water along river channels, complementing the use of flood walls and embankments downstream.

Techniques such as tree-planting, restoring peatland, building leaky dams and reconnecting rivers to natural flood plains can all be used to reduce flood risk naturally.

The first two schemes under construction in Norfolk are on Camping Beck in the Bure Catchment at Buxton, in north Norfolk, and the River Yare at Marlingford, west of Norwich.

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Work on the Buxton project will involve storing flood flows upstream of the village to enhance the environment through providing habitat, while helping to reduce flood risk downstream.

For the Marlingford project a series of 'flow deflectors' and lengths of woody debris will be constructed in the channel of the River Yare to redirect flood water, so it is stored upstream for longer and reduces the risk to communities downstream.

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Sections of the riverbank will also be lowered for the same reason, and 'scrapes' dug in to the floodplain to increase water storage capacity.

Similar techniques will be used at Ingworth on the River Bure, near Aylsham, and Weybourne on the Spring Beck, in north Norfolk, with work due to begin soon.

Work on a fifth scheme at Worthing on the River Blackwater in Mid-Norfolk will start in late autumn.

The work is being carried out as part of a £15m Natural Flood Management programme, which was announced by Defra in 2017.

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: 'Once finished, the Norfolk schemes will provide additional support in reducing the flood risks to local land, homes and businesses. On top of this, they will also enhance and restore some of the county's wildlife habitats and improve water quality in its rivers.'

The Environment Agency's partners in the project are the Norfolk Rivers Internal Drainage Board, the Broadland Catchment Partnership, Natural England, the Norfolk Rivers Trust, and the Broadland Catchment Partnership.

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