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Bodenham Flood Protection Group - Photographs

About the Group

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

The Bodenham Flood Protection Group (BFPG) was formed in 2008 when it became clear that we could not rely on outside help alone to protect the village from a recurrence of the July 2007 floods - it was essential that we helped ourselves. The Group now has a membership of well over 30 volunteers.

The Problem

The problem facing us was how to protect ourselves from a repetition of the July 2007 floods, in which Bodenham Church and some 40 houses in the village suffered damage estimated at over £500,000.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

In addition to flooded houses and gardens, roads were made impassable to normal traffic by flood water.

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What caused this?

The River Lugg was not in flood at the time, so the problem was not caused by the river – so-called fluvial flooding – but by flash flooding – water coming off the surrounding high ground and trying to get through watercourses and drains which could not cope with the flow.

Why could the watercourses not cope?

They were unable to do so because …..

Bodenham Flood Protection Group 

some drains were blocked, ...

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

some had flap valves which were silted up so that they could not open, ...

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and some were simply buried underground and have had to be rediscovered.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Some watercourses were blocked with debris, such as here – everything from branches and domestic refuse to garden furniture, none of which should have been left anywhere near a watercourse.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Some residents had allowed the banks for which they were responsible to become completely overgrown. In fact, some had covered over a watercourse completely in order to extend their gardens – fine if it is done with adequate pipework and with proper authority, but not otherwise.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group


And, of course, in some cases the culverts, such as these here at the Ketch Lane junction with Millcroft Road, are very old and were simply never designed to cope with storm water coming off areas which used to be farm land, but are now housing estates. As a result they are just not large enough to handle the amount of water coming down the watercourse in bad weather, let alone the debris which comes with it.

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So what have we done about it?

Well, in its first years the Group has achieved a tremendous amount.

Millcroft/ Ketch Lane Culverts

Our first task was to clear the culverts at the junction of Millcroft Road and Ketch Lane of a great deal of debris, including a large black plastic water tank and miscellaneous stonework, …

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

not to mention a 30 mile per hour sign complete with its post and concrete base, …

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and around 11 tons of silt which we put it into bags for disposal. The date on a beer can found under the spoil indicated that this part of the watercourse had not been cleared for at least 6 years ….
 

Sandbags

We also filled several hundred sandbags ….

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and we set up stores of sandbags in specially constructed metal cages at strategic points around the village. This is so that sandbags are readily available to residents in an emergency.

Even more importantly, we canvassed residents to find out who needs to have sandbags ready to hand on their premises. They can all now have the sandbags stored in their garages ready for use.

We have also done our best to identify all those who through age or disability are unable to move sandbags or take other precautions for themselves, so that in an emergency volunteers can visit them and help them protect their properties.

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Clearing Overgrown Vegetation on the Millcroft Brook

To begin with we had to spend a lot of time clearing overgrown vegetation along the Millcroft Brook ……

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Clearance and Monitoring of Drains and Flap valves

Where possible, we cleared away any build-up of debris in front of the flap valves and inside the drains ourselves without waiting for the authorities to do this ….

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and we cleared roadside drains which were completely overgrown to assist with drainage after heavy rain. This has proved invaluable during storms when any flooding at the Millcroft Road/ Ketch Lane junction has cleared more rapidly.

What else has been done?

Fortunately, we have not been alone in our efforts to prevent future flooding. The Parish Council helped us get established with a loan, which we very soon repaid through fund-raising, and we have received generous grants from the Bodenham Community Charity and from West Mercia Police, as well as donations of sand from Tarmac’s Wellington quarry and high visibility vests from the Environment Agency.

However, even before we got started, the River Lugg Internal Drainage Board stepped in with practical help.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

One of the problems in the past was the inability of the upper culvert of the Millcroft Brook to cope with the amount of water coming down during storms; so in August 2007 the Drainage Board constructed an overflow, or relief, channel …

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and this has successfully operated on many occasions. The Drainage Board also widened part of the Brook and that, together with the relief channel, has undoubtedly helped greatly to reduce the risk of flooding in the village.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

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Then in May 2011 the Environment Agency announced that Bodenham would be one of 31 places across the country to receive a grant for the flood protection of individual properties during that financial year. In our case the funding has totalled some £160,000 and some 34 properties were fitted with flood protection equipment, such as automatically closing airbricks and removable door barriers.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Later in the same year Mr Rod Hawnt of Hydro-Logic generously donated to the Village a state of the art telemetry system to give warning of flash floods. This was installed in May 2012 and has operated successfully on many occasions.

So, what are we doing now?

Although we have achieved a great deal, we are not resting on our laurels – the work goes on!

‘Walking the Brook’

Every year we have to survey the watercourses in preparation for dealing with the new growth of vegetation in them, with any branches or trees that have fallen across them. or any debris that has come down to block them.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

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Clearance

Then we have to deal with the problems we have found, ….

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

drains still regularly get blocked and have to be cleaned out ….

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and other incidents occur, such as a wall collapsing, blocking the stream and having to be cleared.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

In particular we have to keep the culverts clear of silt.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Sometimes we are helped by the weather, as in the Summer of 2011 when the Millcroft Brook was completely dry for several weeks, ….

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and sometimes we are not.

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Monitoring

Members of the Group maintain a close watch on the Ketch Lane culverts and the Brockington Road bridge after heavy rain to ensure that debris is not blocking the watercourse.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

They can call for immediate help from other members to clear any branches and other debris causing a problem.

Raising Awareness

The Group, in conjunction with the Parish Council, has been active in maintaining the awareness of residents of the risks of flooding created by negligent disposal of garden waste and failure to keep proper control of vegetation close to watercourses.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Unfortunately, we don’t always succeed, as this photograph of garden debris washed down into the Millcroft relief channel shows.

We try to help others in whatever ways we can

We organiseda an open day for residents in September 2011 when flood protection products were on display and Mary Dhonau, a flood protection expert, was on hand to provide advice, …

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

we helped to arrange a county-wide Flood Protection Exhibition in November 2011 sponsored by the Environment Agency, Herefordshire Council and the Know Your Flood Risk Campaign ...

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and we have often responded to requests from other parishes for advice and from the Environment Agency and universities for help with research projects. Sometimes we visit them and sometimes they come and talk to our members at our monthly meetings.

BFPG Northamptonshire Pathfinder Project Flood Warden Training (15 Nov 14)  BFPG Bianca Ambrose-Oji talking to members BFPG Adam Wood (Aberystwyth University) speaking (30 Jul 19)

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So it is pleasing when our efforts receive outside recognition

Whether it is in the form of receiving the Pride of Herefordshire Environmental Champions Award for 2011, ….

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

or being presented with HM The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by HM Lord-Lieutenant for Herefordshire, The Countess of Darnley, in 2015. ...

QAVS Presentation

QAVS Logo

or being interviewed by the media, as here by Jonathan Maitland for ITV’s Tonight programme. by Nicola Goodwin for BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester, by First Look TV and by Blast! Films

BFPG - Jonathan Maitland interviewing BAM  Nicola Goodwin from BBC Hereford and Worcester  First Look TV filming David Harris Mary Dhonau interviewed by Tom Wilde (Blast Films)

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While members of the Group work hard …

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group  BFPG 93 Working in the Brook at Ash Grove Close BFPG Working Party opposite Powis' Field (1 Sep 16)  BFPG Working Party next to the Orchard  BFPG Working Party - School Car Park sandbag cage (27 Apr 17)  BFPG Petrol Pump Training in the snow

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working party sessions are kept short (usually only an hour) and, wherever possible, they are followed by relaxation over refreshments.

BFPG Working Party Refreshments (27 Jun 14)  BFPG Working party refreshments at the Harris' (14 Jul 16)  BFPG Working Party to check sandbags - Refreshments (24 Aug 19)(IMG_2982)(R).JPG 

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Members do much else besides!

They celebrate special occasions, such as the Group's Tenth Anniversary, .....

10th Anniversary - General view  10th Anniversary - Cake made by Sue Maxwell  10th Anniversary - Barbecue  Tenth Anniversary - Fire Engine

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or an award to a member of the Group.

BEM Presentation Guests on the patio before the event (23 Jul 17)  BEM Presentation Lord Lieutenant speaking (23 Jul 17)  BEM Presentation Lord Lieutenant with Sue Maxwell (23 Jul 17)  BEM Presentation Guests on the patio (23 Jul 17)

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And then there are BBQs ...

  Bodenham Flood Protection Group  BFPG Annual Barbecue - Mike Stephens as chef Stephens' Field Annual Barbecue  Annual Barbecue Party - Group 2018 Barbecue Party at Willow Cottage2018  Willow Cottage Barbecue 2014

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Bonfire parties ...

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bonfire Party - sunset 2018  Bonfire Party 2010 BFPG Bonfire Party - Food and Drink 2017  BFPG Bonfire Party - Group 2017

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Quiz nights ...

BFPG Annual Quiz Night - General view with Quizmaster 2017  BFPG Annual Quiz Night - General view 2017 BFPG Annual Quiz Night - General view 2018  BFPG Annual Quiz Night - General view 2018

 coffee mornings ...

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  BFPG Coffee Morning - Cake stall 2018  BFPG Coffee Morning - General view 2019 BFPG Coffee Morning - Group 2017  BFPG Coffee Morning - Tombola table 2014

and table top sales

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

If you live in Bodenham Parish, why not come and join us?!

Contact our Secretary, Debby House, at secbfpg@gmail.com

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