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.

 

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 will reinstate the Flood Wall to its designed flood protection level and lower the level of the storage area to provide additional capacity. Our work on the identified 200m section of embankment follows recent Cocker Beck flooding incidents. 


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

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

Work to date

The main focus in recent months has been to select a preferred design to progress with considering a number of factors, including the impact on the environment, seepage, buildability, access and working area.  

Following Ground Investigation works we have undertaken a review of design options for the project, a prefabricated modular unit flood wall was previously our preferred option. However due to the Ground Investigations revealing substantial soft ground a piled wall option is now our preferred design option. We are therefore progressing with this option through detailed design. 

The piled wall design we are now developing will have several advantages over the block wall construction: 

  • The piles will penetrate deep into the ground preventing seepage below the wall when the levels in the beck are high 

  • Construction will be faster as the watercourse will not need to be diverted 

  • Reduce loss of natural channel side reducing environmental impacts  

  • Reduce impact footprint of construction in private gardens 

  • The piles will be mostly embedded in the ground having a smaller exposed face Vs the modular wall option reducing visual impact 

We have been working with the construction contractors to understand construction methods, site extents and access requirements and have been sharing these with relevant landowners and stakeholders.  

We have identified Himalayan Balsam, which is an invasive species, along the watercourse. We will put a management plan in place to deal with this issue. 

Steel sheet piling example

Example of sheet piling from another scheme.

Enabling works - Tree removal

During the works we will need to able 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

We have received the final design and are seeking relevant permissions before work can start on site later this year. 

While we are currently expecting to be on site before the end of August, at this moment we cannot commit to a start date as there are still a number of challenges including permissions and material availability, however once we have the final design and are confident that we can move the project to the construction stage we will provide further updates.  

Approximate dates (indicative)  
 
This represents a delay from the dates previously communicated due to increased timescales for supply and delivery of building materials. 
 

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.

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.

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)

       

 

 

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.

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.

Another Natural Flood Management method

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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