Natural approach to flood management aims to protect local community

West Wood
L-R Ellen Miller, Cllr Bird, Rachel Pagett

A Cabinet councillor was this week given a tour of West Wood, Wivelsfield, where Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust has been working with the landowner and community groups to put natural flood management interventions in place.  

Councillor Matthew Bird, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, was shown work being undertaken to help tackle the flood risk to nearby homes, including council-owned properties.

Rachel Paget, senior project officer at Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust, updated him on the building of leaky dams at key locations across the woods. She also spoke about plans for the area later this year involving the creation of a series of ponds which will hold water and slow the flow of water from the woodlands. Additionally, a planting programme is planned. 

Councillor Bird said: “We are so grateful to the woodland owner for his support of this initiative and to the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust and to all the community volunteers who have worked so hard to install the leaky dams in the woods. This work will be hugely beneficial to the many properties nearby, which include a number of council-owned homes.  

“This is a brilliant natural flood management initiative to get involved with and I encourage anyone in the Wivelsfield area or beyond to get in touch with the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust if they have ideas about what else the project could be doing or to play an active role themselves."  

Councillor Julie Carr, Cabinet Member for Recycling, Waste and Open Spaces, who received a separate briefing on the work, said: “It has been wonderful to hear about the progress of this project, which is one of a number of nature-based solutions being utilised by Lewes District Council and our partners to achieve climate resilience. It truly shows the power of working in harmony with the environment.” 

The work at West Wood is part of a wider partnership between Lewes District Council, the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust, Sussex Flow Initiative, landowners and others to promote natural flood management. 

Lewes District Council representatives were recently given a talk on the natural flood management interventions in Ringmer comprising three new ponds which hold around 560,000 litres of water and help protect residents from localised flooding when the surface water from heavy rainfall overwhelms underground drains.

Published on March 15, 2023.