Lowdham Information Page

Closes 29 Apr 2022

Opened 1 Jul 2020

Overview

The village of Lowdham is currently the focus of two Environment Agency projects. One falls under recovery work from recent flood events and involves reinstatement of a flood embankment to its designed level. The other is referred to as a capital project and is focussed on flood storage options upstream of Lowdham. 

For general information, please see our Lowdham Flood Risk Information and FAQs.

Page last updated: 24th November 2021

Background

Lowdham is a village to the East of Nottingham with a population of over 3000 people. Through the centre of Lowdham runs the Environment Agency managed section of the Cocker Beck that flows as a tributary of the much larger River Trent. The village has a history of flooding as a result of extreme rainfall events falling over the large catchment area of 12km2. Pinch points in the channel through the village can constrict the flow of water during high river levels which causes the river to spill out of bank causing fluvial (river) flooding of local infrastructure and surrounding properties. This fluvial flooding has previously combined with the surface water system being overwhelmed which adds to the amount of water in the system that increases flood risk.

The village green (football and cricket pitches) in the centre of the village are used as a flood storage area. This storage area that was constructed after a large flood event in 1999 can still be overwhelmed in extreme flood events. A brief summary of previous flood events in the village;

Feb 2020 – over 95 properties. Surface Water & Fluvial. Disruption to roads and transport links.

Nov 2019 – 12 properties flooded – Surface Water & Fluvial.

June 2019 – 2 properties flooded – Surface Water & Fluvial.

July 2013 – ~70 properties flooded – primarily Surface Water, some Fluvial.

Nov 2012 – Surface Water & Fluvial.

June 2007 – 150 properties flooded – largely fluvial

1999 – 300 properties affected – Fluvial. Disruption to roads and transport links.

A map showing the historic flooding locations through Lowdham from the Cocker Beck

Lowdham areas of interest (Aecom, 2016)

You can find details of our current maintenance programme by searching for Lowdham on our Asset Management website or downloading the Cocker Beck maintenance schedule. 

 

Recovery work - Flood Wall

The focus of our work on the Flood Wall is to reduce the likelihood of flooding by diverting flood water to the storage area (playing field). We are currently reinstating the Flood Wall to its designed flood protection level and lowering the level of the storage area to provide additional capacity. This work on the identified 200m section of embankment follows recent Cocker Beck flooding incidents. 

An aerial images showing the playing fields and flood wall, with current make up of defences labelled. 73 meters of raised ground or embankment, 22 meters of concrete sandbag, and 116 meters of sheet piles.
 

This work will complement the proposed capital scheme to create additional upstream storage. 

 

Pictures of the damaged flood defence in close proximity to residential properties.

Images of the embankment that needs reinstating to the designed flood protection level.

Enabling works - Tree removal

During the works we need to access the area with heavy machinery in order to make construction possible. Due to the constrained access to the banks of the Beck, regrettably some large mature trees needed to be removed and others trimmed. Prior to undertaking the tree removal, environmental monitoring was undertaken to ensure impact is minimised.

The 4 large maple trees needed to be removed with urgency to prevent impacting upon any nesting bird species and potentially causing long delays to the Recovery Works programme.

All lost trees will be mitigated through environmental enhancement where we will plant 5 trees for every lost tree in the catchment.

Community engagement

We have been engaging with landowners whose properties are directly adjacent to the work area, providing detailed information and answering questions. We have placed signage around the village to keep the community updated, and we are in regular contact with the Parish Council, District Council, County Council and the local Flood Action Group.

Programme

Works started on site in September and are expected to be completed in May 2022, with approximate timescales below.

September – November: Recreation ground closed to public. We have removed vegetation from the banks of the beck and have set up a site compound on the football pitch. We have also created a temporary access track over the Beck itself.

Image of machinery moving large pipes into place.

Image of large pipes joining the cocker beck under a bridge.

Image of the cocker beck, filled in with two large pipes providing a route for the water. Machinery sits on top of this created platform.

November – January: We have installed pumps on site to manage any high flows during the work. The existing damaged defence will be rebuilt using steel piles, driven into the ground to a depth of up to 10m, to ensure any flows above or below ground are held back.

January – May: Reinstatement works to public space and private land.

How is flood risk being managed during the works?

The channel has temporarily been infilled to form an access track from which we will build the new wall. The majority of water will pass beneath this roadway in two large pipes. To handle higher flows following periods of rain, we have several high volume pumps on site which will automatically activate when levels in the Beck rise. Additionally, a temporary flood wall has been built at the back of properties adjacent to the beck to offer continued protection.

Contact details

For further information on the recovery work to the Flood Wall, please contact EMDenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk  
 

Capital project - Upstream storage

The Environment Agency is developing the Lowdham Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) with the aim of protecting up to 200 residential properties as well as several local businesses.

The preferred option to help reduce Lowdham’s flood risk is to store water in a reservoir upstream of the village; data the Environment Agency has gathered shows this option has great potential. The reservoir will remain dry for the majority of the year, only filling with water when a high rainfall event occurs.

A diagram showing that a storage area operates by filling from the watercourse during high flows, and emptying via a control structure.

Example of a flood storage area

There are multiple factors that need to be considered, including landowner consent, storage locations and ground conditions, to name a few.

Graphic showing how the new storage reservoir will be 10 times the size of the current storage area.

Comparison of current storage capacity with proposed storage capacity.

We have been working closely with Severn Trent Water to ensure our scheme compliments the work they have done to enlarge the capacity of the surface water drainage system. We have conducted our own investigations to establish if surface water issues will be managed sufficently once the upstream storage solution is in place. We have found that by keeping the Cocker Beck within the channel through the centre of Lowdham, the new Severn Trent Water system will cope with the surface water issues it is designed to withstand, which is good news for the scheme as the interaction between surface water and the Cocker Back has been an issue in the past.

Benefits of this option:

  • The new storage areas combined will provide approximately 10 times the capacity of the current cricket pitch
  • The storage areas will provide a high standard of protection to the whole village
  • The solution is cost effective
  • There is potential for environmental enhancement
  • The scheme will compliment Natural Flood Management
  • The option will minimise construction needed in the village
  • It can be designed to have minimal operational requirements

Partners we are working with:

  • Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Newark and Sherwood District Council
  • Trent Regional Flood and Coastal Committee
  • Gedling Borough Council
  • Trent Rivers Trust
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Landowners
  • Parish Council and Flood Action Group (FLAG)

Newark and sherwood district council logo      Nottinghamshire county council logo Trent RFCC

 

 

Graphic of the expected phases of development. Phase 1 in autumn 2020 is viability surveys. Phase 2 in spring 2021 is outline business case. Winter 2021 is full business case. Spring 2022 is start of construction.

Natural Flood Management

In addition to the development of a flood alleviation scheme, the Environment Agency has been working in partnership with the Trent Rivers Trust and Nottinghamshire County Council to develop a Natural Flood Management (NFM) scheme. The scheme is in the upper Cocker Beck catchment and is part of a £15m Defra funded pilot project to test some of the techniques of NFM.

Images of a leaky dam, made of logs, on a small stream. Acting to slow the flow of water.

One of the Natural Flood Management interventions currently installed upstream of Lowdham

Early evidence in the Cocker Back catchment has been positive and there are indications to show that the NFM works carried out have made an effective contribution to holding back water during heavy rainfall events.

This is an ongoing project which will be monitored until March 2021, providing the Environment Agency with important data to inform how work can be expanded over the wider catchment.

Image of agricultural land, managed to slow run off.

Another Natural Flood Management method

Feedback

We would appreciate if you could spare a few minutes to complete a short survey about this information page. 

Please contact us if you have any questions

You can find further information, or answers to any specific queries, by contacting EMDenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk

Audiences

  • Businesses
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Local authorities
  • District and parish councils
  • Land owners
  • RFCCs
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Members of the public
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups
  • Environment Agency colleagues
  • Lead Local Flood Authorities
  • Local Risk Management Authorities
  • Flood Resilience Forums

Interests

  • Flood management