Landowner’s knowledge and goodwill key in battle to beat flooding risk in Debenham

VILLAGE SIGN - DEBENHAM
VILLAGE SIGN - DEBENHAM

Landowners in a Suffolk village have put their heads together in a bid to create natural flood prevention measures.

They have joined a number of organisations, including Suffolk County Council, Environment Agency, Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust and East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board to deliver the Deben Holistic Water Project in Debenham.

Records of historic flooding in the village date back to the early 19th Century, with the most notable recent floods taking place in the 1990s. There are currently more than 30 properties at significant risk of flooding in Debenham – with another 240 at risk during severe rainfall conditions. Traditional approaches to flood management have previously been modelled for consideration but have proved too costly, with estimations in the region of more than £10 million.

A number of landowners showed a willingness to work together to develop natural flood management features on their land – upstream from where flooding often occurs, using their knowledge of water flow and land heights.

To date current provisions attempt to intercept rainfall and holding it in a pond or small reservoir, releasing the water into the river once levels drop.

Now three features have been installed at Debenham Hall, Aspall Hall and Hill House Farm, funded by the local flood levy, the county council and the Essex and Suffolk Rivers Trust.

It is hoped more similar features will be installed upstream in the village in the new few years, subject to funds being available.

Cabinet member for environment and public protection, Matthew Hicks, said: “This work is being undertaken in partnership with local landowners who are in a position to offer suitable land sites. The aim is to achieve a level of flood protection that will result in significantly reducing the risk of flooding around the village. This project really benefits the whole community and I want to thank all the landowners – without their goodwill none of this would be possible.”