Friday 10th March 2017

Natural Flood Management - Frome CatchmentNatural Flood Management - Frome Catchment

Stroud District Council, the Environment Agency and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) have received recognition for their pioneering natural flood management work in the Frome catchment above Stroud, by way of being announced as a finalist for the 2017 UK River Prize.

Facilitated by the River Restoration Centre (RRC), the UK River Prize looks to inspire and celebrate innovation and best practice in river restoration and catchment management. The Stroud Rural Sustainable Drainage System (RSuDS) project has been announced as winner of the Innovation Project category and is in the running to be crowned overall winner at an awards ceremony as part of the RRC Annual Conference in Brighton on April 4th 2017.

RSuDS was set up in response to repeated flood damage after the extensive downpours of 2007. The project has seen over 280 natural flood managements constructed since its inception in 2014; it has undoubtedly saved not only considerable amounts of money in damages and alternative hard flood defence installation, but also helped keep the homes of residents and wildlife safe.

Project Officer for Stroud District Council, Chris Uttley said:
“Sustainable drainage systems have been in use in the built-up environment for a number of years and this project uses these same principles but on a much larger scale. The overall aim is to reduce flood risk, improve water quality and restore wildlife. Being nominated for the UK River Prize shows that we are going in the right direction and we will continue with our efforts to further mitigate flood risk in the Stroud area.” 

Backing from local residents, landowners and organisations is vital to the success of large scale natural flood management work

Natural flood management techniques employed include the building of large woody leaky dams across streams, excavating dry ponds and diverting flood water into natural soakaways. All structures provide great habitat for wildlife, reduce the amount of silt travelling downstream and slow the rate at which floods travel down the valleys, lowering the peak water height.

GWT are a partner and advocate of the project; local experts and landowners of the focus area, Snows Farm nature reserve. The site occupies a very steep sided valley at the head of the Slad Valley, Stroud. The reserve wraps around the Slad Brook, a tributary of the River Frome which flows through Stroud and into the River Severn.

“It’s brilliant news that the RSuDS work in Stroud has been recognised for this national award. Backing from local residents, landowners and organisations is vital to the success of large scale natural flood management work, and the RRC’s acknowledgment of its effectiveness will hopefully increase support. The hope is that similar schemes will be adopted nationwide and contribute to the mitigation of flood risks across the UK” said Richard Spyvee, GWT Living Landscapes Manager.

To find out more about RSuDS visit