As extreme weather events become a more frequent occurrence, flooding is blighting the lives of more communities. Traditional flood defences were designed to deal with historic flooding levels, but can no longer defend people and properties against the volumes of water resulting from some recent rainfall events.

Policy makers are now looking at how natural flood management (NFM) can help. NFM is when natural processes are used to reduce the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. Examples include creating interventions on land to store water upstream of towns and cities, river restoration schemes which recreate the natural meanders in rivers and reconnect the floodplain and planting trees to promote water percolation and absorption.

The Trent Rivers Trust has completed NFM schemes on farmland around Leicester and on the edge of Southwell. Measures implemented include earth bunds to store water and leaky dams on ditches and small streams to hold back water and allow it to flood adjacent farmland for short periods.

We are also working with farmers in several catchments looking at how techniques such as minimum tillage and cover cropping can help to build organic matter in soil to improve soil structure and allow water to flow through the soil profile rather than over it.