Severn Trent outlines Birmingham Resilience Project

Severn Trent Water is inviting people to take part in a consultation about plans to develop an alternative water supply for Birmingham, known as the Birmingham Resilience Project. Most of Birmingham’s water supply is currently provided by the Elan Valley Aqueduct which supplies the city with clean water from reservoirs in the Welsh hills. However, the aqueduct is now over a 100 years old and Severn Trent’s regular inspections have revealed that the aqueduct is showing signs of deterioration…

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ESI responds to Government consultation on River Basin Management Plans

In this article, Mike Streetly, Director of ESI’s Water Group, delivers a response to the draft update to the Government’s River Basin Management Plans, which are currently open for consultation. The plans set out how the government sees compliance with the Water Framework Directive being delivered over the coming decades. The first cycle of plans was focused on understanding the scale of the problem better with the main improvements planned during the second and third rounds – but they were issued before the economic crisis set in. How have financial pressures and an improved understanding of the problem changed ambitions for the second cycle of plans? Read on to find out more…

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Current spending on flood risk management is insufficient, says National Audit Office

The National Audit Office (NAO) published a report last week on strategic flood risk management. It says that the Environment Agency estimated in March of this year that 1 in 6 homes in England are at risk of flooding from coastal, fluvial (river) and / or surface water flooding. The report examines the sustainability of current funding approaches to flood risk management, and how flood risk management activities are managed and delivered…

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Farmers advised on how to reduce flood risk

Localised flooding resulting from surface water run-off from agricultural land is a particular problem in the South-West of England, and farmers have been advised to take measures to reduce the risk. According to a new report by the Environment Agency, about 90% of agricultural soils in the South-West suffer from poor structure…

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Rivers Trust publishes report on River Improvement Programme

The Rivers Trust has published a report on the River Improvement Fund Programme which delivered more than two hundred river improvement projects throughout England between 2010 and 2014. Funded by Defra, the River Improvement Fund Programme was an initiative of three phases, wholly managed by The Rivers Trust and delivered by 28 individual rivers trusts…

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Government responds to EFRA report on winter floods

The UK Government has published a formal response to the report on the winter floods of 2013-2014 which was produced in June by the Commons Committee on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA). The response provides answers to the concerns expressed by EFRA on flood risk management issues such as investment, Environment Agency budget cuts, dredging and the need for increased maintenance, funding methodology, and the responsibilities of flood authorities…

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Localised flood warning system uses white space technology

A technology company based in Oxford is working with the local community to develop a localised early flood warning system for the city, using white space in the city’s airwaves. The project will involve the installation of 30 sensors to monitor water levels in the Thames basin. The Environment Agency already monitors river levels in the area, but the new project will focus on streams…

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Water companies face conflicting demands over groundwater abstraction

In July the UK government published the results of its consultation on proposals to reform the current regulatory system for water abstraction. A draft bill is expected shortly after next year’s general election, and organisations and conservationists are hoping that the bill will make it easier to campaign against the impacts of over abstraction on sensitive sites…

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New research confirms damage to river basins caused by peat burning

A five-year study has shown that burning upland peat to stimulate grouse production significantly harms the hydrology and hydro-ecology of the area and does significant damage to the chemistry and physical properties of peat. The study, called the EMBER project, was carried out by the University of Leeds and the results…

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Defra announces the ending of subsidies for solar farms

Defra has announced that subsidies to farmers for fields filled with solar panels will end in January 2015. In a press release issued this week, Defra said that the new rules will ensure more agricultural land is dedicated to growing crops and food. The move is expected to save the government £2 million and it will mean that farmers who choose to use fields for solar panels will not be eligible…

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