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Halcrow awarded Gloucestershire Surface Water Management Plan contract

Gloucestershire County Council has awarded a contract to produce Surface Water Management Plans to Halcrow.

Gloucestershire County Council has received additional funding to produce a Surface Water Management Plan for Cheltenham.

Following a rigorous procurement process, the council has awarded a Framework Contract to Halcrow to undertake this work on the council’s behalf. 

In April this year, the Flood & Water Management Act received Royal Assent. When the Act is fully introduced, the county council, like all county and unitary authorities, will become the lead authority for local flood risk including the management of surface water flooding. 

To help better understand surface water flood risk, the Act encourages lead local authorities to draw up Surface Water Management Plans. 

Effective management

These plans provide a framework to help local authorities, and their partners, better understand the causes of surface water flooding and help identify the most effective way to manage them.  

Work on the Cheltenham plan will commence immediately in close partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council, the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water colleagues, with a view to completion by April 2011.

The plans are based on computer models which seek to simulate the impact of a large amount of rain falling in a short period of time.

Whilst such computer models can only ever be a simplification of reality, they do help all the organisations with a responsibility for managing flood risk to better understand the likely consequences.

In 2009, Gloucestershire County Council was one of only six authorities in the country chosen by Defra to undertake a pilot Surface Water Management Plan.

Technical challenges

With the help of Halcrow, its consulting engineer, Gloucester City Council, the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water, the county council overcame significant technical challenges to produce a pilot plan.

The lessons learnt during the process have been fed back to Defra, which has in turn used the whole exercise and the information to amend and update the national guidance.

The lessons learnt from Gloucestershire’s pioneering work will not only directly help the county, but indirectly help local authorities across the entire country better understand local flood risk.

Surface water flooding primarily affects urban areas during intense and heavy rainfall. It arises when rainfall running off impermeable surfaces overloads nearby drains, sewers, ditches and the small watercourses they feed into.

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