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Six communities awarded £6.4m to 'Reclaim the Rain' and tackle flooding

Norfolk County Council, 15 June 2022 00:00

The Norfolk and Suffolk County Council's joint Reclaim the Rain project, which aims to implement innovative and sustainable water management projects progresses as six communities are selected.

The Project Team received 37 formal applications from communities keen to be involved in Reclaim the Rain across both counties. These Expressions of Interest were carefully considered and whittled down to three communities in Suffolk and three in Norfolk.

The chosen communities, are:

  • Merton and Watton, Norfolk
  • Thompson, Norfolk
  • Woodton, Norfolk
  • Boxford, Suffolk
  • Little Blakenham, Suffolk
  • Friston, Suffolk

In the coming months, Reclaim the Rain will be working closely with these communities to develop projects which maximise the opportunities to manage risks from both flooding and droughts. The overall project objective is to identify new ways of working that can be learnt from and evidenced to inform and influence future policy, approaches to, and investments in how flood risk is managed nationally in the coming years.

Norfolk and Suffolk both face considerable surface water flood risk, while also being the driest region in the UK. The project will aim to store flood water and make it available for use by agriculture, industry, communities, and the environment.

The project will involve both partner organisations and the community in the development of suitable flood water reuse schemes. The schemes will address the community's needs in terms of flood risk and water resource requirements, and could result in provision of:

  • Habitat creation and restoration;
  • Irrigation reservoir recharge
  • Rainwater Capture and Reuse for community, agriculture or business use;
  • Retrofitted SuDS;
  • Smart Leaky Water Butts and more;
  • Rain Gardens and more...

Councillor Eric Vardy, Norfolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, said: "We all know that water management is vital all year round - the impact of too little water can be as serious as too much, and managing our resources to mitigate both flooding and drought is a major challenge. This project is allowing us to work with local communities to bring in innovative, bold ideas to make the best use of our water and I'm looking forward to seeing the results: getting this right in Norfolk will set an example for groups across the country to follow and demonstrate how we can make our communities stronger and more resilient."

Cllrs Claire Bowes, County Councillor for Watton, and Fabian Eagle, County Councillor for The Brecks including Merton and Thompson, said; "We are delighted that these three adjacent communities have been accepted for the scheme. All three Wayland communities have suffered serious flooding issues for different reasons and we were happy to support their applications and we will continue to support them through this next stage."

The Chairman of Thompson Parish Council in Norfolk, Jean Kaye, said: "Thompson feels very privileged to be selected as one of the sites for the Reclaim the Rain pilot project. This project will primarily enable us to address and resolve the drainage and flooding challenges that this village and its neighbouring village experience and at the same time facilitate water capture to assist our farming community. We are very much looking forward to working with the project team and all of the local, regional and national interested parties."

Cllr Kay Mason Billig, Norfolk County Councillor for Loddon Division including Woodton, said: "I am pleased for the people who live in Woodton, that their plight is being taken seriously and they are to be included in this initiative. The devastation that is caused when houses are flooded affects not just belongings but mental well-being too. To have to live with this threat every time we have heavy rain is not acceptable today and I am grateful that the County Council are trying to do something about it."

Local resident in Woodton, Sarah Mann, said: "We are grateful for our circumstances and desire to find solutions being recognised, the Reclaim the Rain initiative offers us peace of mind to work on putting solutions in place and are pleased that any actions will also benefit the wider area around Woodton. The village has had its fair share of challenges to contend with and the community continue to pull together, support each other and improve the area for current and future residents, we look forward to working with the Reclaim the Rain project team, Norfolk County Council and local land and business owners.''

Last modified: 14 May 2024 12:43

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