Royal HaskoningDHV were proactive in formulating designs that ensured we could deliver multiple benefits for the environment not just flood risk reduction.
Fifty properties in the tiny village, which lies on the north Essex border, have been inundated during flood events in 2007 and 2009 when Bumpstead Brook and Helions Brook burst their banks.
After vigorous lobbying from the village Flood Action Committee the Environment Agency initiated the Steeple Bumpstead Flood Risk Management Scheme and Royal HaskoningDHV was charged with delivery of the project.
The scheme was funded by the Regional Flood & Coastal Committee’s Local Levy budget with contributions from DEFRA (The UK government department responsible for the environment, food and rural affairs) Essex County Council and the local community.
Flood risk solutionRoyal HaskoningDHV provided consultancy services including outline design, detailed design, stakeholder engagement, planning application, environmental impact assessment, landscape architecture and construction supervision.
Securing funding and engaging stakeholdersIn April 2009 our team began preparing a business case which ultimately secured funding for the project. They also led stakeholder engagement with bodies such as the Highways Agency and the village Flood Action Committee formed following the 2007 flood.
In February 2013 contractors started work to increase the river’s capacity through widening, re-profiling and re-sectioning the channel along the downstream reach of Helions Brook and a section of Bumpstead Brook. Six river crossings including footbridges, road bridges and a ford have been replaced with new crossings each providing sufficient capacity for the design flood event. The close working relationship with the community and the Highway Agency proved beneficial in the development of a scheme that satisfied all stakeholders.
Alastair McMillan, project manager for Royal HaskoningDHV and NEC Site Supervisor for the ECC Contract, outlined the challenges presented by the scheme: “Although this was a relatively small scheme there were many constraints that we successfully overcame, many of which were imposed by the 27 planning conditions from the local authority” he commented.
“Access was restricted in many of the construction areas like public highways and the village itself, where diversions were implemented.
Much of the work was undertaken on the boundaries of people’s properties so as well as negotiating landowner agreements we appointed a landscape designer to redesign residents gardens.”
The project, which is due for completion in Spring 2014, has already proved to be a success.
None of the houses in the village were affected by the storms of February 2014 and according to Chairman of the Flood Action Committee, Adrian Burr, residents could finally sleep easy at night: “The scheme has very much succeeded in doing what it was supposed to do,” he commented.
“Not one house was flooded during the recent floods and it has made a great difference to the lives of everyone in the village.”
In addition to protecting the local community the project has also proved to be an environmental success.
Alastair McMillan added: “With the site located in a conservation area the design solution had to be sensitive to the environmental character of the village and blend with the many different man-made features which required the use of different finishes, which we achieved.”