Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister Richard Benyon today opened the Horsbere flood storage area, which will reduce flood risk to more than 350 homes in Gloucester.
The Horsbere Brook floods frequently and local residents were severely affected by summer floods in 2007. Some properties reported to have flooded to a depth of over one metre. The river broke its banks a further three times in 2008, requiring immediate action by the Environment Agency and some over-pumping by the fire service to avert flooding.
The flood risk management scheme has now reduced flood risk to over 350 homes downstream of Horsbere. Consultant Atkins provided environmental support in option development, reviewed the outline design and took the project through detailed design and supervision of construction. The flood storage area was created by excavating some 120,000m3 of earth, the majority of which was used to form a flood embankment and to profile the existing hillsides and create a natural looking landscape, enhancing the local area. The reuse of this material kept construction costs down to below £1M.
Designed to provide protection against a 1 in 100 flooding event (plus a 20% increase in flows to allow for climate change), the scheme comprises a flood storage area with the capacity to store more than 150,000m3 of water. In normal conditions the vast majority of the storage area, which is classified as a reservoir under the Reservoirs Act 1975, will be empty but when flows increase, excess water will spill into it, significantly lowering water levels in the Horsbere Brook.