Much of the UK has experienced an increase in flooding in recent years, leading organisations to realise that hard engineering alone is not the answer. Natural Flood Management (NFM), the soft engineering of water on a landscape scale, are now understood to be essential in order to contribute towards “slowing the flow”.

NFM projects are designed to complement existing flood projects that are being delivered by other organisations already working in the area. Natural Flood Management involves working with nature to try and ‘slow the flow’ of water through a landscape. There are a variety of techniques and land-based interventions that can be used, including; subsoiling, cross drains, earth bunds, leaky ponds, cover crops, hedge planting, tree planting and grass buffers.

BART work in partnership with the Environment Agency, local authorities and landowners to deliver NFM surveys and practical interventions around the Bristol Avon catchment.

The footage above, captured by one of our skilled volunteers demonstrates the functioning of several NFM interventions implemented by BART within the headwaters of the Winford Brook. The scheme was led by BART, working in partnership with landowners, the Environment Agency, North Somerset Council and Bristol Water. Work on the ground included the construction of bunded scrapes, an attenuation pond, leaky dams and relocation of an agricultural gateway in order to reduce sediment input to the watercourse.

Throughout the duration of this project, BART has begun the process of developing a number of wider schemes throughout the catchment. Creating demonstration sites on the ground has generated interest from neighbouring landowners. Further opportunities have been identified for floodplain connection, reducing sediment & nutrient inputs to improve water quality and create new wetted and wooded habitat. The scheme will also contribute towards sequestering carbon, by improving soil retention, planting of trees and via the creation of new wetted habitat.