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31 March 2016

Holnicote Project Selected as 2016 UK River Prize Finalist

PAA’s Holnciote project has been selected as one of four finalists for the 2016 UK River Prize. The project has been selected as winner in the Catchment category, with the prize to be awarded at the UK River Prize Awards Dinner on 26th April, which coincides with the River Restoration Centre’s (RRC) annual conference in Blackpool. One of the four finalists will also be nominated for the prestigious Nigel Holmes Trophy to be announced at the Awards Dinner.

Holnicote EstateThe Holnicote project, on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in West Somerset, was one of three multi-objective flood management demonstration projects commissioned by Defra in 2009 following the floods of Summer 2007. The projects were all tasked with generating hard evidence to demonstrate how working with natural processes, implementing a range of natural flood management (NFM) measures, and utilising a partnership approach, can contribute to reducing local flood risk while producing a wide range of other benefits for the environment and communities.

The project, led by the National Trust, was core funded by Defra with additional significant funding from the Environment Agency and the National Trust, with an original, initial project budget of approximately £700,000.

Woody debrisA hydrological monitoring network was installed across the catchment to establish baseline conditions, before a range of NFM interventions were undertaken, including:

• Moorland drain blocking
• Woodland clough planting on moorland fringe
• Woody debris retention within woodland
• Flood plain wet woodland planting and enhancement
• Improved agricultural soil management (buffer strip creation, contour ploughing, cropping for soil organic accumulation, improved soil aeration)
• Creation of an offline floodplain flood water storage system
• Installation of leaky dams and weirs
• Creation of floodplain scrapes

Monitoring data post NFM intervention indicates a reduction in flood risk for previously flooded properties within Allerford and Bossington – for example, data demonstrated a 10% reduction in peak flow (compared with baseline) during a 1:75 flood event in Natural flood managementDecember 2013, protecting properties from flooding. Other benefits include positive consequences for biodiversity, a reduction in levels of soil erosion (and thereby an improvement in water quality through reduction in river suspended sediment levels), an increase in soil carbon storage and an increase in general awareness of natural flood management practices (including site visits, publications, newspaper articles, social media, radio and television).

The final project report was delivered in April 2015, and further NFM interventions and monitoring will continue as part of the National Trust’s ‘Catchments in Trust’ initiative.

For more information please contact us, or feel free to download a copy of the 2015 Holnicote Natural Flood Management Report.