Floating ideas

DSCF6178©Geoff Wilkinson

Rising at Molehill Green in Essex, the River Roding passes through the Wanstead and Woodford area en route to the Thames, bringing with it a very real flood risk to local homes. In the 10th of a series of articles, Nina Garner from the Environment Agency reports on the River Roding Project, which aims to reduce that risk. Photo by Geoff Wilkinson

We maintain a wide range of flood and coastal risk management (FCRM) assets which reduce the risk of flooding to people and property. These assets could include, but are not limited to, embankments, pumping stations and flood gates.

The channel maintenance we currently have in our 2020/2021 programme for the River Roding in Redbridge is an annual check to be carried out in December 2020 to January 2021.  This involves our field teams walking the river, cutting back any overhanging vegetation to just above bank height or to allow reasonable access to the channel. They also remove woody debris from the channel to reduce the risk of snagging and clear any blockages larger than a football.

Due to coronavirus, the timing and nature of the maintenance works may change so we can adopt safe ways of working. In line with government advice, we are continuing to deliver all of our flood risk management projects where it is safe for our teams and delivery partners to do so. We are following the latest guidance from Public Health England regarding safe working.

We will publish an updated programme every three months to show progress (visit swvg.co.uk/rodingprogress). You can view the programme as an interactive map to see what is going on near you. To use the map, enter the desired postcode, then click on a feature to find information about the asset and planned work.

The Water Resources Act 1991 grants statutory powers to the Environment Agency to maintain main rivers for reduction of flood risk (sections 169 to 172), irrespective of channel ownership. These powers are discretionary and are exercised according to resources available and the flood risk pertaining in any locality. The legal duty to maintain a watercourse rests with the riparian owner (normally the owner of the land adjacent to the watercourse), irrespective of whether the Environment Agency chooses to undertake works.

Since our last article, we have received an indicative programme of works for the River Roding Project which outlines what will be carried out and when.

Back in October 2018, we carried out ground investigation works at four locations in Woodford on existing flood embankments along the River Roding. After analysing the information obtained, we were able to determine that works are required at two of the four locations to ensure the defences are fit for purpose. To determine exactly what works are required, we will be doing further ground investigation works in August.

We will also be conducting various surveys along the River Roding. These will include ecology surveys at both the flood storage area (FSA) site and Woodford defences and geophysical surveys, including trial trenching at the FSA site, which are proposed to be conducted between August and December 2020. These surveys will inform what work needs to be undertaken and inform the planning application, which we aim to have granted by August 2021.

Please keep an eye out for upcoming engagement events in March or April 2021 prior to the submission of our planning application. This will give you and your community an opportunity to comment on the proposals.

To find out if your property is a flood risk, visit swvg.co.uk/flood
To register for flood warnings, visit swvg.co.uk/floodwarn
To check the River Roding webcam, visit swvg.co.uk/rodingcam
For more information on the River Roding Project, visit swvg.co/rrp or call 0370 850 6506