Natural Flood Management is an approach to flooding that aims to work with natural processes, rather than hard engineered flood defences. It is currently much favoured by DEFRA, who are investing in many new projects. Nottingham Trent University, along with Environment Agency, Southwell Flood Forum and Trent Rivers Trust have constructed a restored stream section (to give more space for water storage), built earth bunds on 5 fields, and 13 leaky log dams – all intended to slow flow off the farm during heavy rain, to help reduce peak flows reaching the town of Southwell downstream. This is important because the town has a long history of flooding.
Our project is a contribution to flood management, not a solution on its own – it is small in size, but important because we are gaining good scientific evidence of what effect it has, which is not available on most of the other projects. This interdisciplinary project also involves PhD student Josh Wells working with local landowners to understand their views of NFM and what are the barriers to them implementing it.
We have hosted visits for several cohorts of MSc students from Nottingham University and the scheme is used each year in teaching on the Fluvial Geomorphology and River Management module and for undergraduate dissertations.