Making a difference where you live
Managing our environment in harmony with nature
Climate change is bringing increased rainfall to the UK, including more frequent periods of intense and heavy rain that can cause serious flooding and damage to property.
Working with the Environment Agency, Sussex Flow Initiative, Ouse and Adur River Trust , National Trust and landowners along the Ouse and its tributaries, has enabled the Ouse to be reconnected at many locations to its flood plain.
One practical method has been the building of numerous leaky dams across the catchment, including Chailey Common, Plashett Wood near Isfield, Hoath Wood above Newhaven, and West Wood near Wivelsfield.
Leaky dams are a natural flood management method that involve positioning branches and twigs across channels and flow paths to help slow the flow and hold water in the landscape, and then draining the water when flood flows have passed.
We are also implementing a range of other practical interventions that make space for water in the Ouse catchment. In doing so we are reducing the risk of flooding, increasing biodiversity, improving water quality and helping to make our district climate resilient.
The Sussex Flow Initiative has recently published a fantastic 2022/23 review report. The report showcases the great natural flood management work that Sussex Flow Initiative has delivered and the benefits of this across the district. Lewes District Council has provided funding support to the Sussex Flow Initiative for the delivery of these superb projects.
There is more information about the leaky dams in this Sussex Flow Initiative and South Downs National Park Authority guide.
Other interventions have been the planting of many thousands of tree and kilometres of hedgerow, both of which absorb water and slow the movement of water as well as storing carbon and improving biodiversity.
For more information on Sussex Flow Initiative please visit www.sussexflowinitiative.org
The Ouse was canalised in the late 18th century, making it easier to navigate but increasing its ability to cause flooding.
Working with the Environment Agency, Sussex Flow Initiative, Ouse and Adur River Trust , National Trust and landowners along the Ouse and its tributaries has enabled the Ouse to be reconnected at many location to its flood plain.
To see this work in action you can make a fascinating trip to Sheffield Park – for information please visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheffield-park-and-garden/features/river-ouse-at-sheffield-park
The Cockshut Stream Restoration Project aims to enhance biodiversity, help with flood management and carbon storage, and restore the rights of the stream to flow unimpeded, unpolluted and with its native plants and wildlife protected. The project will be completed and accessible to the public by Autumn 2023. In addition to the benefits to wildlife, visitors will be able to enjoy a new circular walkway, bridges and interpretation panels. For more information visit www.cockshutstream.org/
Storing the Storm – Case Studies
‘Storing the Storm’ aims to minimise and manage surface water run-off through community support for, and involvement in delivering small Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) measures to reduce local flood risk and actively respond to a changing climate.
These initiatives have been implemented in Barcombe, Plumpton, and Ringmer.
Find out more about each project here: