Gloucestershire wildlife charity launches new flood prevention project

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is launching a new 'Gloucester and Cheltenham Waterscapes' project this August 2023, in partnership with home insurer MORE THAN, to help prevent flooding and boost biodiversity in the county.

By Chloe Gorman  |  Published
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and MORE THAN hope to help prevent flooding in the county by harnessing the power of nature.

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust is launching a new project to help prevent flooding this August 2023, with the charity teaming up with home insurer MORE THAN to provide natural flood management in the county. 

Residents in many parts of Gloucestershire are no stranger to floods, with one in six properties across the UK being at risk of flooding and claims for weather-related incidents on the rise. According to MORE THAN, the average flood claim costs around £39,000. 

The British Ecological Society (BES) says that frequent extreme weather events can also have devastating effects on freshwater ecosystems and proactive strategies are needed to increase their resilience and improve the connectivity of habitats. 

The new joint venture between Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and MORE THAN — called 'Gloucester and Cheltenham Waterscapes' — is the first of its kind and sees the insurer investing in nature-based interventions to help mitigate the risk of flooding and increase biodiversity in the county. 

These interventions include de-paving driveways, creating rain gardens, installing green verges and building attenuation ponds to capture rainwater and reduce peak flows. 

The two-year project also involves an extensive community engagement and education plan which aims to provide advice to residents and businesses. It hopes to build strong relationships that affect real change, as well as assessing the impact of interventions on communities; their ability and confidence to take action for the environment; and collecting data on the effectiveness of natural flood management to encourage adoption in other affected areas. 

Interim CEO of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Ally Wilson, said: 'Nature has a huge role to play in helping us tackle the impacts of climate change, including flooding. We are no strangers to the impact of flooding in Gloucestershire — that’s why we are delighted to be working with MORE THAN to demonstrate the role that nature can play.'

The Environment Agency's catchment co-ordinator for Severn Vale Catchment Partnership, Karen Andrews, added: 'This is an exciting and innovative project which will help to showcase nature-based solutions to flooding and to biodiversity loss in our urban areas, and we are really pleased to be collaborating with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to help to identify where these interventions might provide the greatest benefits for the people of Cheltenham and Gloucester.'

The 'Gloucester and Cheltenham Waterscapes' project is officially launching on Thursday 24 August 2023 with a family-friendly 'Water Warriors' event at Robinswood Hill Country Park, featuring a trail, hands on activities and an immersive puppet show featuring Sabrina, the goddess of the River Severn, promising 'songs, music and watery wonder'.

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