£200,000 ‘thirsty’ plant scheme to stop flooding in Taverham

Vehicles driving through standing water in the Wensum valley between Drayton, Taverham and Costessey

Vehicles driving through standing water in the Wensum valley between Drayton, Taverham and Costessey. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

Homes near Norwich are to be protected as part of a £200,000 scheme which will create five 'basins' full of special plants which will soak up water.

Anglian Water is creating the sustainable drainage system - the biggest of its kind in the East of England - in Taverham.

The scheme will capture rainwater and divert it into a drainage system using special plants and grasses which also slow water and provide more opportunity for it to soak away into the soil or evaporate.

The new project could take up to 21 million litres of water - more than eight Olympic sized swimming pools - out of the sewers every year, considerably reducing the risk of flooding to nearby homes in Suters Drive, which have been affected in the past.

Jonathan Glerum, Anglian Water's flood risk manager, said: 'SuDS are becoming more common on new housing developments as a more sustainable way of preventing flooding to homes, but what's special about this scheme is that as well as being the biggest in the east of the country, we're retrofitting it to protect existing homes. We hope this scheme will demonstrate the potential of SuDS and encourage more schemes right across the country.'

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Five 'basins' will be created on land in the north east of Taverham, near Ashgrove, Badgers Brook and Judge's Garden.

These will capture rainwater and allow it to soak into the ground. When it rains heavily the basins will fill up and slow the flow of water to the existing drainage system.

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Any excess surface water will be channelled onto a new permeable footpath from Suters Drive down to the wetland area and pond near Marriot's Way south of Suters Drive.

Water bosses say 'thirsty' wildflower grasses and plants will be planted in the basins and in strategic places to create a larger system that slows and soaks up the water, and allows it to drain away more effectively.

John Fisher, Broadland District Council's portfolio holder for environmental excellence said: 'This project tackles one of our district's greatest environmental issues – flooding – but is also sustainable, helps wildlife and is one of the cheaper flood prevention measures available.'

Work will start on Monday. Pipelines will be put in to alter the highway drainage in Suters Drive and the footpath changed to make the surface more permeable.

It will take about 13 weeks and, while no road closures are needed, temporary traffic lights will cause some disruption at peak times.

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