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Interactive Flood Maps Now Available

Effective engagement is at the heart of our project.

Across Harpers Brook and Wootton Brook, our aim is to increase flood resilience not only through the provision of natural flood management, but also by establishing community flood action groups and encouraging uptake of Property Flood Resilience measures.

Part of this is includes making sure that people fully understand their risk, so they can take effective local action to help themselves.

Working in partnership with HR Wallingford – the experts in how water moves, behaves and influences communities – we have used advanced modelling techniques to understand the interactions between surface water, urban drainage and river systems.

Using this data, we have created intelligent, interactive maps, which highlight flood risk hotspots across both catchments. This ensures that we are directing the right support and resilience methods to each community, plus offers transparency to all communities in Harpers Brook & Wootton Brook on their flood risk.

The great thing is, these maps are now available and, importantly, they are not just one-way information portals, but are open to community input – and this is where we need your help!

HELP US, TO HELP YOU:

We need your help to input information into our interactive maps! They are now available to anyone living or working in Harpers Brook and Wootton Brook to use.

We want you to populate the modelled maps with your knowledge of local floods that have happened – whether it’s been a one-off incident or has been a recurring issue.

On the map, you can plot any problem areas, add comments, highlight where floods have happened, and we can then use this information in our planning. Plus, the information can be factored into the development of a community flood plan for your area.

Your help and knowledge will be invaluable in creating your community’s flood plan – and we thank you for your time and input!

Harpers Brook Map: https://nfm.hrwallingford.com/main/rain-harpers
Wootton Brook Map: https://nfm.hrwallingford.com/main/rain-wootton

HOW CAN YOU ADD YOUR COMMENTS?

Step One:

Click on the Map link of the Catchment that is relevant to you. On opening the map, you will see the blue boundary of the Catchment area we are working within. It will look like this (Harpers Brook is used as the example in these pictures):

Step Two:

To identify the specific road that you want to find, go to the ‘layer’ icon on the left of the picture (highlighted in the red circle below), and click Open Street Map view. This will then change the view to include road names. You can then either search the map, or you can use the search function (magnifying glass icon, on the left) to find a specific address:

Step Three:

To add comments, press on the ‘quotation’ icon on the right hand side of the page. This will bring up the Comments text box, where you can add and submit your observations. As well as populating the information onto the map, the information will be sent directly to our project team:

For Any Help:

If you need any assistance, click the ‘I’ information icon on the right hand side of the screen (highlighted in red on the picture) and this will provide you with helpful tips on using the map:

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Ground maintenance team standing at the site of the Tiny Forest

Eco Day success at Corby’s Oakley Vale

On Friday 23rd February, the community of Oakley Vale gathered in the sunshine as part of a free Eco Day event. The aim was to create a micro or ‘Tiny Forest’ on Dunnock Road, which has been prone to waterlogging in the open green space when heavy rain is experienced.

We were joined by families, friends, the Oakley Vale Community Association, local rangers, councillors and the 7th Corby Kingswood and Oakley Vale Scout Group who all really enjoyed planting trees in the (rather muddy!) space.  Led by the grounds maintenance team of North Northants Council, and the RAIN Project, we collectively planted 760 saplings and trees in the area.

Forest School sessions were also held by our friends at Nene Rivers Trust, and hot food was available at lunchtime for everyone who took part.

During the afternoon, we headed to the Community Centre where families took part in building bug hotels, enjoyed our creative craft corner, and met with Mary Long-Dhonau – also known as Flood Mary – and Tris Baxter-Smith, to discuss property flood resilience, and natural flood management techniques.

The Eco Day was a fantastic success – the community really enjoyed working together to create the tiny forest, which will benefit all for years to come.  It not only promotes biodiversity but resilience against surface water flooding in the local community.

“Thank you to everyone for coming and supporting the planting of the Tiny Forest.  It was a tremendous community event and we all appreciated everyone’s help in bringing the project to life!”

Video: Sarah Parr from the RAIN Project

  

 

 

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Eco Day

Tiny Forest coming to Corby’s Oakley Vale: Community Eco Day Event

A free Eco Day event is being held in Oakley Vale on Friday 23rd February from 10:00am to create a brand new ‘Tiny Forest’.

Working in collaboration with the North Northamptonshire Council Grounds Maintenance Team, we are inviting local residents from the Oakley Vale community of Corby to come along and take part.

Everyone is welcome to help with tree planting, build bug hotels and receive forestry workshops from our friends at the Nene Rivers Trust.

Located in the Dunnock Road green space of Oakley Vale, this Tiny Forest project aims to enhance the local ecosystem while also contributing to natural flood management efforts in the area.

We are aiming to plant around 750 trees, providing numerous benefits to the environment and the community!

Hot food will be available to keep participants energised during the planting session.  Talks will then take place at the Oakley Vale Community Centre from 1pm, from experts at the Nene Rivers Trust. Our flood resilience expert, Mary Long-Dhonau, – AKA ‘Flood Mary’, is also joining us on the day and happy to answer any questions relating to flood awareness, resilience and recovery.

Everyone is very welcome – please join us!

Precise Location of Tiny Forest: https://w3w.co/fork.unique.latest

Eco Day poster showing picture of people tree planting, and details of the event on 23rd Feb.

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Flood Recovery Guide

Recovering from a flood: a practical guide

Flood Awareness & Resilience champion, Mary Long-Dhonau OBE, has published a new Flood Recovery Guide – sponsored by ageas, which offers advice and guidance to help the victims of flooding through the initial stages of recovery.

Using the personal experiences of people unfortunately affected by flooding, as well as her own extensive knowledge, Mary has pulled together all the best practical advice possible, on what steps should be taken following a flood in your home or property. The information is presented in a clear and understandable format, designed to help everyone (whether insured or not) to cope and find a way forward.

The guide takes you through the initial hours and days following a flood, as well as the long-term recovery considerations. This includes installing Property Flood Resilience measures to lessen the impact of future floods and explains the extensive benefits of Flood Re’s Build Back Better scheme.

To download the new Flood Recovery Guide from Flood Mary, click here.

To learn more about Flood Re’s Build Back Better scheme, click here.

 

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Flood Mary Explains: Property Flood Resilience

Our Property Flood Resilience expert, Mary Long-Dhonau OBE was recently interviewed by the Environment Agency to learn more from her about ‘Property Flood Resilience’ – what it is, what measures are available, and how they help towards protecting your property from flooding.  Watch this 2-minute clip to learn more:

You can also follow the Environment Agency on Instagram to see this, and a selection of other Property Flood Resilience advice videos, which were released during Flood Action Week 2023: https://www.instagram.com/envagency/.

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Pink umbrella in grey and wet backdrop

Be Flood Ready!

Flood Awareness & Resilience champion, Mary Long-Dhonau OBE, offers advice on what you should do to be ‘flood ready’ ahead of any exceptionally wet weather events – such as Storm Babet, which arrived in the UK during October: 

“Having experienced flooding first-hand, I have created a handy pre-winter check-list, which offers some simple tips on the steps that can be taken to make sure you’re as prepared as possible as the weather turns wetter. While it is not an exhaustive list, it may help in thinking ahead before any floods occur.

Conduct a walk-about:

Every year, as the ‘rainy’ season approaches, I always take a walk around the outside of my house to make sure that all the brick work is in good order with no lose mortar. Flood water will find its way into any vulnerable gaps, such as a wobbly drainage pipe gap or around utility service wires, so check these.

I also make sure that any channel drains are cleared of fallen leaves and debris and also check any other drain that is located outside of my home has no blockages. Hard paving leaves floodwater nowhere to go, so if you do have it, perhaps think about removing a few slabs at regular intervals and planting a few water thirsty small shrubs in their place.

On top of this, I always make sure that gutters are free of any leaves that may have gathered during the autumn drop.

Finally familiarise yourself with how you turn off your gas, electricity and water supplies, in the event of a flood emergency.

Plan Ahead:

Firstly, I urge everyone to keep informed and sign up for the Environment Agency’s Flood Warning. The free service will send you flood warnings if your home or business in England is at risk of flooding: https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings

Secondly, be prepared by creating a household plan so when the flood comes, you know exactly what to do. For example, think about the needs of children, babies, elderly and disabled living at home and your also your pets.

If you don’t store your documents in ‘the cloud’ make sure, computer data and photographs are backed up and stored safely. There will be some items that cannot be replaced: family photographs, sentimental pieces or children’s drawings – keep them somewhere where they will be safe – or move them in good time.

Also, consider where you can move your car so it isn’t affected by flood waters.

Create an emergency flood kit ‘grab bag’, containing emergency medication, torches, spare clothes, first aid kit, important documents, and also the means to keep warm.

Keep a list of useful telephone numbers (including your GP details, insurance claim line & policy number) to hand, and make sure they are also stored on your mobile phone.

A useful guide on how to create a household emergency plan is available to access for free here:

https://floodmary.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/preparing-a-household-emergency-plan.pdf

Check Your Cover

Do you know if you have the correct insurance cover in place? Check your buildings and contents or business policy with your insurance company to be certain. Take detailed photos of your property and contents now, before any flood occurs. And be sure to keep you policy details safe – whether in your emergency grab bag, but also on email or in the cloud.

Flood Resilience Measures

Have you ever considered how are can prevent water from entering your property? There is a wide array of property-level flood resilience products that can be used to help minimise the risk of flood water entering your home, or steps that can be taken so if water does enter, it is easier and quicker to dry out and repair.

Installing flood resilience measures will ultimately enable recovery to happen in just a matter of days instead of months, should a significant flood occur.

More information on what fully-tested, Kite-marked products are available in this free Householders Guide to Flood Resilience:

https://floodmary.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/HouseholdersGuidetoFloodResilience2023_ONLINE.pdf

Before a Flood Occurs

If you receive a warning that flooding is imminent, there are some immediate actions I recommend you take. The first is to empty your water butt; this will allow run off from your roof to go in there and not into the drains.

Secondly, move your car to higher ground if it is safe to do so and, finally, put your household flood plan into action.

Stay Safe During a Flood

During a flood remember the most important thing you can do during a flood is to stay safe. Always remember that:

  • Six inches of fast flowing water can knock you over
  • Two feet of water will float your car
  • Flooding can cause manhole covers to come off, leaving hidden dangers
  • Do not walk or drive through flood water, as there will be many hidden hazards, the water may be too deep to drive through and you may well face an insurance claim for your car
  • Do not let children play in flood water as it can often be contaminated waters
  • Do not walk on sea defences or riverbanks
  • When water levels are high be aware that bridges may be dangerous to walk or drive over
  • Culverts are dangerous when flooded
  • Look out for other hazards such as fallen power lines and trees
  • Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch floodwater as it will be contaminated.

After a Flood

While you may be tempted to return to your home following a flood, wait until you have been told it is safe to do so by the emergency services. I would urge you to contact your insurance company as soon as possible; many have 24-hour help lines during a flood and should be able to support you.

I also recommend you do the following post- flood:

  • Take photos and a video of the damage, this includes the contents of fridge and freezer, with your mobile phone or buy a disposable camera
  • Mark a line on the wall as to where the water came up to
  • Wear gloves when touching anything that is wet as it may well be contaminated
  • Cut a piece of your carpet and save it for the loss adjuster and then try to remove carpets into the garden but do not throw it away. Carpets hold water into the property and wet heavy items inhibit the drying process
  • Once carpets are outside, try to keep your windows and doors open to aid ventilation but remember to lock-up every time you leave to avoid any unscrupulous thieves from taking advantage

I’ve written a guide on Flood Recovery, which is available to view here:

https://floodmary.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/homeowners-guide-to-flood-recovery.pdf

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Northants farmer Ian Matts discusses how he has benefitted from LENs

Case Study: Ian Matts, Northants Farmer

A major element of the RAIN project is to work across the Harpers Brook and Wootton Brook catchments to consider where Natural Flood Management techniques could be used to help ‘slow the flow’ of flood waters downstream.  We’re working with farmers and landowners across the area to discuss options.

As part of this, we will be trialling Landscape Enterprise Networks (LENs), which is an innovative funding mechanism for nature-based solutions.  We thought it would be useful to share the following case study of Northants farmer, Ian Matts, who has benefited from LENs to show how it works:

CASE STUDY: Ian Matts

Northamptonshire farmer Ian Matts has been involved in the Landscape Enterprise Network (LENs) in the East of England since 2021. This regional LENs offers funding from public and private organisations in the Northamptonshire area including West Northamptonshire Council, Nestlé Cereal Partners, and Anglian Water. Measures are co-funded with the aim to build supply chain resilience, reduce flood risk and improve biodiversity.

In 2021 Ian received funding for the implementation of sustainable farming practices such as including grain legumes in arable rotation; autumn sown cover crops and reduced cultivation systems. Ian also made use of the innovation measure to gain funding for N sensor rental for precision fertiliser application.

Following his first successful year in the programme, Ian added to his catalogue of measures in 2022 by establishing cover crops in the autumn; year-long fallow with cover crops; incorporated a urease inhibitor with urea fertiliser and integrated fertiliser and manure nutrient supply.

Ian’s involvement is aimed at improving water quality and biodiversity as well as carbon reductions on his farm. Ian likes the LENs model as he explains: “the 1-year measures offer the flexibility to trial different on-farm policies, without locking up land. LENs de-risks innovation so that I can try using new techniques to address agronomic problems.”

Ian has applied for additional measures this year, in 2023.

Northants farmer Ian Matts discusses how he has benefitted from LENs
Northants farmer Ian Matts discusses how he has benefitted from LENs

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Picture shows an example survey letter from the RAIN project

Received a Letter? Sign-up for a Free PFR Survey

If you live in the Wootton Brook or Harpers Brook areas of Northamptonshire and have received a letter from the RAIN project which looks like the example shown below, your property has been deemed eligible for a free Property Flood Resilience survey.

We have commissioned independent flood risk surveyors JBA Consulting to carry out these initial individual property surveys – to book an appointment or ask any questions call the JBA hotline on 01925 347969, or email JBA Consulting directly at plp@jbaconsulting.co.uk, quoting the unique reference at the top of your letter.

The climate is changing and so is the potential for future flooding; we therefore urge you to sign-up for the survey to assess your flood risk.

Picture shows an example survey letter from the RAIN project

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Flooded kitchen, picture provided by Flood Mary

After a Flood: What You Should Consider

If you’ve been flooded in your home, here is some advice from Mary Long-Dhonau on what steps you should take:

Firstly, while you may be tempted to return to your home following a flood, wait until you have been told it is safe to do so by the emergency services.

I would urge you to contact your insurance company as soon as possible; many have 24-hour help lines during a flood and should be able to support you.

Going home for the first time after a flood can be very distressing so don’t take your children with you. The areas of your home that have been flooded may well be covered in horrible brown sludge and will smell awful, so try to prepare yourself for that.

Make sure you wear boots and take care not to fall over, as the floor will be very slippery underfoot.

I also recommend you do the following post- flood:
• Take photos and a video of the damage, this includes the contents of fridge and freezer, with your mobile phone or buy a disposable camera.
• Mark a line on the wall as to where the water came up to
• Wear gloves when touching anything that is wet as it may well be contaminated by the flood water
• Cut a piece of your carpet and save it for the loss adjuster and then cut your carpet into small pieces try to remove it into the garden but do not throw it away. Carpets hold water into the property and wet heavy items inhibit the drying process
• Once carpets are outside, try to keep your windows and doors open to aid ventilation, as this will speed up the drying process but remember to lock-up every time you leave to avoid any unscrupulous thieves from taking advantage
• Your insurer will give you more instructions.

I’ve written a guide about how to recover from a flood, and have a section that has lots of post flood recovery information, which is available to view here: https://floodmary.com/help-and-resources/after-a-flood/.

Mary Long-Dhonau OBE

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Rain storm hitting the ground

Flash Flooding in the Summer

Written by Mary Long-Dhonau OBE

Surface water flooding – otherwise known as flash flooding – poses a significant risk to communities. When the ground is hard due to hot summer sunshine, rainwater cannot drain away quickly enough.

Unlike river or coastal flooding, this type of flooding can occur anywhere. It happens when intense rainfall overwhelms drains and natural drainage systems, leading to the sudden accumulation of water in our communities.

What Are The Dangers of Flash Flooding?

In my experience, flash surface water flooding is indiscriminate and can have severe consequences. Slow moving heavy clouds can dump a month’s rain fall in a localised area, in a short time, when nearby hasn’t had any rain at all!

The rapid accumulation of water creates hazards such as significant run-off on roads creating difficult or even dangerous driving conditions, hazardous debris, and submerged objects. Vehicles can become overwhelmed, putting lives at risk, and properties can be severely damaged by the force of the water.

Always Be Prepared!

Preparedness is crucial when it comes to dealing with surface water flooding. I’ve learned that being proactive and having a plan in place can significantly reduce the impact and risks associated with such events. Here are a few steps to consider:

  • Stay Informed: Keep track of weather forecasts and flood warnings issued by local authorities and the Environment Agency. Sign up for emergency alerts to receive timely information about potential flood risks in your specific area.
  • Develop an Emergency Plan: Create a comprehensive plan that includes moving prized possessions upstairs or elevating them onto tables or work surfaces, relocating your car to higher ground, planning evacuation routes, and making sure that everyone in your household understands the plan and knows what to do in case of a flood.
  • Protect Your Property: Take preventive measures such as installing flood resilience measures. This can include flood barriers, flood doors, self-closing air bricks and non-return valves on your plumbing to prevent water entering via washing machines, toilets and sinks. Also, regularly maintain and clear gutters, downspouts, and drains to facilitate water flow at all times.
  • Build an Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency kit that includes essential supplies including non-perishable food, water, medication, flashlights, batteries, blankets, and a portable radio. Keep important documents in a waterproof container or safely stored online in the cloud.
  • Tip – if a heavy rainstorm is coming your way, empty your water butt to allow the rain from your roof to go into the water butt and not into the drainage system. If every one did that, it could make a big difference!

Remain Vigilant

Particularly in the summer months, when we’ve all be enjoying the hot sunny weather it can be easy to become complacent. This is a common pitfall when it comes to flood preparedness, however it is important to recognise that flash flooding can occur in any location, regardless of past flooding history.

Even if you live in an area that has not experienced flooding before, don’t assume it cannot happen. By remaining vigilant and prepared, you can minimise the potential impact on your life and property.

Surface water flooding threatens more people and properties in the UK than any other type of flood risk. It poses a real and present danger, particularly in areas where the ground has become hardened by the hot summer conditions.

The secret is in being prepared; receive alerts, have a plan, and stay informed!

Having been flooded myself, I know only too well how awful it is and that’s why I’m evangelical about planning in advance in order to keep one step ahead when faced with the prospect of flash (or indeed any) flooding.

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In partnership with HR Wallingford, two interactive digital flood maps have launched for Harpers Brook & Wootton Brook catchments, which are open for public comments & feedback….
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