Implementation process

By looking at the the activities, actors and methods or approaches used, this section will provide a better understanding of the implementation process of the MLS approach. We will describe the point of departure, who was involved (when, why and how) and what key decisions were made when and why.

Point of departure of FRM strategies

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Figure 1: Current and desired score to reach per layer in this pilot (Baseline monitor Southwell, 2017).

To measure the impact of FRAMES on improving the flood resilience of pilot areas, communities and authorities both a baseline and final monitoring survey have been conducted. The surveys were completed by pilot managers in consultation with key pilot stakeholders. The baseline survey included questions about the actual situation in 2017 (before the project started) and expectations for 2020 (see figure 1). The final survey contained similar questions, but about the actual situation in 2020 and expected situation for 2025, five years after the pilot projects are finished. All the scores for both surveys along with an interpretation, can be found in chapter 8 of the Transnational Monitoring and Evaluation Report.

Stakeholders involved

Roles of key actors

The project is managed through two mechanisms, a working group consisting of Trent Rivers Trust, National Flood Forum and Nottinghamshire County Council, whose role and function is to coordinate activity, and a decision making steering group consisting of these organisations plus Nottingham Trent University, Environment Agency, Newark and Sherwood  District Council, Southwell Flood Forum, Lowe's Wong Infant School and VIA (contractors from NCC to implement flood risk measures). Both groups meet quarterly.Working within a catchment means crossing boundaries, political or administrative. When applying the MLS approach, stakeholders are involved from every layer of governance, and collaboration amongst them is very important. Thus, in this FRAMES pilot the different statutory governance layers are:

  • EU level
  • National level
  • Nottinghamshire County Council (regional level)
  • Town Council and individual landowners (local level)

Collaboration among stakeholders across the governance layers is very important to avoid hitting barriers. The responsibilities of stakeholders involved in the pilot are:

  • Trent River Trust implements NFM in collaboration with landowners. They also provide training to the Southwell Flood Forum on using telemetric water level data during flood events. Nottingham Trent University is responsible for some of the wider monitoring the effectiveness of NFM interventions.
  • Southwell Flood Forum is a community flood action group established in September 2013 to take actions against floods and create a more resilient community. Included within the forum are professionals who know about flood risk (interview with pilot manager, 2019). The Southwell Flood Forum provides the following services to communities: emergency plan, supporting a resilient Southwell, flood mitigation, fundraising and water course management (Southwell Flood Forum 2019).
  • The National Flood Forum is a national charity agency that brings people together to share knowledge and experience on flood risks, to create partnerships and support community action to increase resilience of communities towards floods. The National Flood Forum provides recovery services, information and advice about floods, professional training to prepared agencies and local authorities, and support communities action (National Flood Forum, 2019).

Based on the services they provide explained above, both organisations (National Flood Forum and Southwell Flood Forum) are taking actions within the 3 layers of the MLS approach (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

  • Nottinghamshire County Council is the Lead Local Authority responsible for surface water, fluvial on ordinary watercourses (Environment Agency is responsible for main watercourses) and groundwater. They have the mandate to coordinate flood risk management activities in Nottinghamshire (Nottinghamshire County Council, 2019)(e.g. works by other statutory organisations). The Nottinghamshire County Council is the second major funder of the project and very interested to work in this FRAMES pilot (interview with pilot manager, 2019).
  • The Highways Authority, in this case Nottinghamshire County Council, is responsible for certain aspects of drainage.  In practice this service is delivered by Via East Midlands Ltd, a company wholly owned by Nottinghamshire County Council.  The company aims to safeguard the delivery of a sustainable highways service for Nottinghamshire (VIA EM, 2016) and also delivers civil engineering contracts for the council.
  • The Environment Agency is responsible for strategic co-ordination, management of main rivers, coastal flood risk and erosion and regulation.  In the project area the main river responsibilities are undertaken by the Internal Drainage Board.
  • Severn Trent Water is the statutory body responsible for supplying water, collecting waste water and treating it and certain aspects of drainage.  Their networks can be an important element in reducing flood risk.
  • Landowners are able to  engage in the project on a voluntary basis and give the permission to install interventions on their land. Moreover, they will maintain the interventions for 5 years beyond the project time.
  • The Internal Drainage Board (IDB) is a statutory public body that manage water levels in an area, known as an Internal Drainage District, where there is a special need for drainage. There are a total of 112 IDBs in England and thei

r responsibility is to reduce flood risk to people and property, and manage water levels for agricultural and environmental needs within their district (ada, 2019). They cover part of the project area.

Main activities

In the pilot project there are two different processes:

  1. Natural flood measures (NFM) interventions by Trent River Trust
  2. Community resilience by the National Flood Forum.

The NFM interventions are mainly located outside the town in the upper catchment and community resilience is mainly within the boundaries of the town (interview with pilot manager, 2019).

NFM interventions by Trent River Trust

Step 1: get to know the area: The Trent River Trust project manager walked the catchment to get to identify possible opportunities for NFM interventions. Afterwards, the knowledge gained was used for a desk study. Using ArcMap to identify flowpaths (based on topography), locations for NFM implementation were selected.

Step 2: engage with stakeholders: Landowners were then contacted to talk about the potential for NFM intervention on their land as well as any flow paths that they had observed. The potential design and methods of construction were then discussed. Following this, once an agreement was reached, the interventions could be implemented. A works grant agreement has been put in place to maintain the interventions for 5 years past the FRAMES project end. However, difficulties have arisen during some negotiations.

Step 3: Implementation of NFM interventions: After getting the permission of the landowners, the interventions can be installed. Type of NFM interventions: leaky barriers, storage ponds (Figure 1), earth bunds , river restoration, wetland creation, farm track water diversion (take water from the farm tracks into bunds), tree planting. Currently, there have been many interventions implemented including: leaky barriers, earth bunds, cross drains online and off line storage ponds and tree planting.

The monitoring of the NFM interventions is done in two ways: the water levels in the storage ponds are monitored using time lapse cameras, and Nottingham Trent University monitors the whole catchment looking at changes in hydrograph parameters. The maintenance costs of the interventions are covered by the FRAMES budget.

Community resilience by the National Flood Forum

There was a blank sheet regarding community resilience at the start of the project. It took a lot of time to negotiate and engage with the stakeholders. The activities are planned along the way resulting, possibly, in a strategic planning at the end of the project.

It was decided to focus on six different themes:

Theme 1: display in the Library: In July 2018 a display was organized together with the Southwell Flood Forum in the public library for the 5th Anniversary of the flood, marking the achievements of the Flood Forum since it came into being back in 2013. It was a great opportunity for the pilot manager (National Flood Forum) to get acquainted with the community and their perception towards flooding. A total of 40 people visited and looked at the display, some of whom were flooded out during the 2013 event.

Theme 2: working with estate agents: The project officer from the National Flood Forum visited and talked with Real Estate Agents face to face about their issues when selling and buying houses that have been flooded or that are at flood risk. The Estate Agents were getting a lot of questions related to floods from people and they didn’t have the answers. People who are interested in selling/buying a house are aware about the flood risks in the area, they do research about it. Thus, the National Flood Forum, together with the Estate Agents, decided to develop a leaflet with relevant  information about flooding issues, how individuals can contribute to reducing the flood risk of Southwell, who to contact in times of emergency and snippets of information on  insurance, volunteering and the Natural Flood Management work taking place in the upper catchment.   The aim of the leaflet is for the Estate Agent to give to their clients when they move into the town A leaflet was also designed and produced for the volunteer group ‘Churches Together’ to be given out in their Welcome Pack for new residents.

Theme 3: project with the schools: Work has been underway throughout the project to engage with the local schools on flooding issues, with project partners offering to deliver workshops to the children.  Although the schools have shown a great deal of interest in the project and have responded positively, the schools have very limited time and their curriculum has, so far, prevented any workshops taking place.  It is unlikely that any workshops will take place before the end of the project now, however, through Southwell Flood Forum and the continuation of building community resilience, workshop maybe delivered in the future.

Stakeholders involved: Lowes Wong Infants and Junior Schools, Trent River Trust, National Flood Forum and Holy Trinity Church of England Infant School.

Theme 4: Riparian Owners: Very often flooding is caused by poor watercourse management or lack of maintenance, with the responsibility usually lying with riparian owners.  All riparian owners have rights and responsibilities with their watercourse and whilst they have rights (eg fishing rights and mooring rights), they also have responsibilities to manage their water appropriately.  This element of the project aims to help riparian owners understand their rights and responsibilities by talking to people face to face through door to door surveys, consultations and events. The purpose is to find out if they know their responsibilities in maintaining the watercourse (such as preventing blockages), help those that need help (some riparian owners are elderly so cannot do maintenance work themselves) and form a riparian owners volunteer group. So far, the National Flood Forum has completed 40 questionnaires.

Ideally, it would be great to create a Riparian Owners group in Southwell at the end of the project, but it’s a slow process.  Following the door to door survey, a Riparian Owners Knowledge Exchange event was held during the summer, for riparian owners to drop by and meet with other riparian owners as well as have the opportunity to meet with the Agencies that also manage watercourse as part of their flood risk responsibility.  16 people attended the drop-in session and those that answered an exit questionnaire, find the event’ very useful’ or ‘useful’.

Stakeholders involved: Riparian owners, National Flood Forum and Southwell Flood Forum, Inland Drainage Board,  Nottinghamshire County Council, Environment Agency and any other interested party that wishes to call by.

Theme 5: flood awareness badge: National Flood Forum is currently working with   Southwell Flood Forum and the Fire and Rescue Service to develop a Flood Awareness Badge for the Scouts, as part of their Climate Change Badge.  This is on-going and is due to be set up by the end of the FRAMES project, with the aim that it is something that can be delivered by the Fired and Rescue Service annually. 

Stakeholders involved: Scouts, Southwell Flood Forum, National Flood Forum andFire and Rescue Service Southwell.

Theme 6: Organise and attend community events. National Flood Forum and Trent River Trust organised a community event 3rd of April to inform the community about FRAMES. Stakeholders and the community are approached using surveys, community events, door to door visits, face to face catch, using banner advertising FRAMES, visiting businesses.