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Bodenham Flood Protection Group - Photographs

About the Group

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

The BFPG 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

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

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

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  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 of …..

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

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 if that is not the case.

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 badly designed and are simply not large enough to cope with the amount of water coming down the watercourses in a storm, 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

We cleared 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 debris put it into bags for disposal. The date on a beer can found under the spoil indicates that this part of the watercourse had not been cleared for at least 6 years ….

 



Sandbags

We have filled several hundred sandbags ….

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

And we set up four 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 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 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

We have spent 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 heavy rain when any flooding at the Millcroft Road/ Ketch Lane junction has cleared 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 have since repaid, 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.

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 channel …

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

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

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

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 35 properties have now been fitted with flood protection equipment, such as automatically closing airbricks and removable door barriers.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Later in the 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 been tested successfully on several 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.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Clearance

Then we have to remove it….

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 old East Ketch Lane culvert 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.

Monitoring

Members of the Group maintain close observation of the Millcroft/ Ketch Lane Culverts and the Brockington 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 blockage

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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 overflow channel shows.

We try to help others in whatever ways we can

Both by organising events for Bodenham residents, such as the open day 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

And by arranging 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 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 interviewed by the media, as here by Jonathan Maitland for ITV’s Tonight programme.

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

While members of the Group work hard …

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

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They do much else besides!

There are BBQs

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Bonfire parties

Bodenham Flood Protection Group  Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Quiz nights, coffee mornings

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

Bodenham Flood Protection Group

and table top sales

Bodenham Flood Protection Group Bodenham Flood Protection Group

If you live in Bodenham Parish come and join us!

Contact Babs Mitcheson on 01568-797170

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