A PROJECT in Corvedale in south Shropshire has demonstrated how nature can be put to good use to reduce the risk of flooding.

Now Shropshire Council, along with WSP, Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Cardiff University, have won the ‘Studies and Research’ category for the ICE West Midlands Awards 2022.

The awards provide an opportunity to celebrate all aspects of civil engineering and are presented to the best civil engineering projects, people and ground-breaking research across Birmingham, the Black Country, Coventry, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Solihull, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire.

The award was presented to the partnership for their study: The Shropshire Slow the Flow Natural Flood Management Project.

This project, which was carried out in the Corvedale catchment in south Shropshire, utilised nature-based approaches to flooding, including instream wood structures known as leaky barriers, to help reduce flood risk, improve biodiversity, whilst also supporting partnership and community working.

The research conducted by Cardiff University determined the effectiveness of leaky barriers in raising water levels behind the barriers and increasing water storage. The research involved using innovative technology, skills and techniques to quantify the flood attenuation effects of these nature-based solutions to flooding.

Starting in 2018, the project focused on monitoring the flood attenuation effects of leaky barriers using an acoustic doppler flow sensor, tipping bucket rain gauges, and pressure level sensors throughout the catchment, logging and transmitting data every 15 minutes.

The monitoring equipment was used to gather quantitative evidence on leaky wood barrier performance in response to different storm magnitudes and characteristics, including determining the backwater rise magnitude and net increase in water storage generated by the leaky barriers. ICE West Midlands Award categories 2022 included the best large, medium, and small project, as well as accolades for communication, innovation, heritage, team achievement and a range of people awards.