Like other parts of Gloucestershire, the Stroud Valleys suffered extensive flooding during the summer of 2007.
Flooding on the Slad Road, 2007
Every year since has seen flooding in some parts of the Stroud Valleys, including most recently Chalford on the middle Frome, and Bridgend and Eastington on the lower Frome.
Of particular concern to residents and the District Council is the designation by the EA of the Slad and Nailsworth Valleys as "rapid response catchments", which means they are at increased risk of flash flooding.
After the flooding in 2007, community flood action groups were established in the Slad and Painswick Valleys and also the lower Frome and subsequently on the Middle Frome at Chalford. They have campaigned for better protection for residents and properties from flooding, but over the years, communities and authorities have realised that the Upper River Frome and its tributaries are not suited to hard engineered solutions. This is in part due to the physical nature of the catchment and the distribution of the properties at risk, but also due to the heritage and aesthetic value of the Stroud valleys.
Members of the Stroud Flood Action Groups visiting work in the Slad Valley
In 2012, the Environment Agency commissioned a report into the feasibility and potential benefits of implementing Natural Flood Management (also called Rural Sustainable Drainage) (RSuDS) throughout the catchment of the Frome and associated tributaries.
Acting on the findings of the study, the Severn and Wye Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) agreed to fund a project officer to implement and promote natural flood management in the Frome catchment. A formal partnership between Gloucestershire County Council, The Environment Agency, the RFCC and Stroud District Council was established to implement the work, and under a collaborative agreement, Stroud District Council agreed to employ the project officer. The work has been ongoing since then.
To implement the approach and achieve real reductions in flood risk will require extensive partnership working between communities, land managers and farmers. The project is seeking help and assistance from owners of riparian woodland and agricultural land to implement measures to reduce run-off and slow flows to help reduce flood risk for down stream communities. Many interventions to restore or create habitats will also slow flows, so we work in partnership with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on many of our projects.