Council to bid for up to £6m in government funding to reduce risk of flooding

Four areas in Swindon at risk of flooding could benefit from millions of pounds in government funding.

Published: Friday, 29th January 2021

Flooding DEFRA bid

Swindon Borough Council has today (29 Jan) submitted a bid to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs’ ‘Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme’, to introduce flood mitigation measures in Wanborough, Highworth, Abbey Meads, and Taw Hill/Haydon End.

The funding programme will allocate an average of £6m to 25 local areas looking to pilot new and creative approaches to improve resilience to flooding and coastal change, including:

  • Nature based solutions/ Natural Flood Management – actions that work with and enhance nature such as tree planting, floodplain restoration;
  • Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) – SuDS mimic nature and typically manage rainfall close to where it falls. The approaches focus on water quantity, water quality, amenity and biodiversity;
  • Approaches for making existing properties more flood resilient – fitting property level protection such as flood door boards, air brick covers and moving electric sockets higher up the wall;
  • Encouraging local businesses to improve their flood resilience – work with local business to implement flood plans and property level protection;
  • Building community and voluntary sector capacity to respond and recover – working with communities and volunteers to develop flood plans.

Detailed plans for the four Swindon project areas will be finalised if the Council is successful. The Council would look to use a variety of retro-fitting SuDS and natural flood management within the areas to help reduce flood risk, while providing features that will have multiple benefits for the local communities along with reducing the Council’s carbon footprint.

If successful, the schemes will be developed and constructed over the next six years.

Councillor Gary Sumner, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure, Transport and Planning, said: “Flooding can be devastating for local communities and we have seen here in Swindon in recent years how major flood events can cause huge problems for residents.

“Large storms are becoming increasingly common due to climate change and we are experiencing warmer, wetter winters. Last year, Storm Alex caused flooding in both Highworh and Wanborough and the other areas we have identified for funding have also been prone to flooding in the past.

“We need to ensure that our drainage systems can adapt to cope with the changing rainfall, that we use sustainable methods to prevent surface water run-off and build flood resilience on our key highway routes and in our communities.”

The 25 selected areas will receive some initial funding to develop their project proposals into more detailed plans during spring 2021, before the projects formally begin from summer 2021.

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