Green fingered children fight flooding

01.12.2014

Green fingered school children are joining the fight against flooding.

Northumbrian Water is launching an innovative and sustainable pilot scheme, which will reduce the amount of surface water, which runs off school grounds, from entering the sewer network.

A detailed drainage area study has identified areas from across the region that are at risk of flooding, and would benefit from having surface water removed from the sewer network.

School sites are the focus as they have large areas of impermeable surfaces which surround school buildings.

The first school to take part in the study is Woodhouse Community Primary School in Bishop Auckland.

Working in partnership with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Northumbrian Water has created a rain garden and sustainable drainage system at the school, which are made up of raised wetland planted beds, a water butt, swale (grassy ditch), bog garden, wildlife pond and wildflower areas. The pond is in an area where children can be supervised at all times.

Surface water will be diverted to the garden from various areas within the school grounds to prevent it from entering the sewer network.

Reporters and photographers are invited to come and see the garden and meet children from Woodhouse Community Primary School, Walker Drive, Woodhouse Close Estate, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 6QW, on Monday December 1 2014 at 10.30am. They will be planting some of the wetland beds. Interviewees from Northumbrian Water and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust will also be available for interview.

Northumbrian Water’s project manager for the scheme, Elaine Smith, said: “Reducing the risk of flooding to our customers’ homes and businesses, and being prepared for the future as rainfall patterns intensify and change, are top priorities for us. Removing surface water from our sewer pipes means the network is able to carry more foul waste water and the risk of flooding will be reduced, especially in times of heavy rainfall.

“This creative and sustainable scheme provides a fantastic opportunity for partnership working, which is so important when tackling flooding, and the educational benefits are also very significant. We are sure the children will really enjoy the garden.”

Tindale Beck’s water quality will also improve as the frequency of spills from the sewer network into the watercourse will reduce.

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust has developed an educational programme linked to the garden which will teach children about the water cycle, the causes of flooding, sustainable flood solutions, the differences between and impact of impermeable and permeable surfaces and the role and importance of wetland habitats.

Laura Tedstone, from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: “This is such an exciting project to be involved in as it will give the children of Woodhouse Community Primary School a great opportunity to learn so much in a fun and very interactive way. This project captures what is really important to us – being sustainable, creating wetland habitat and providing an opportunity for children to learn about and develop a connection with nature.”

Children of all age groups at the school will form a group called ‘Eco Warriors’ - this committee will oversee looking after the garden and share learning with their peers.

It is hoped that following this pilot project more schools from across the region will be able to take part in the scheme. Northumbrian Water is currently also working with Collingwood Primary School in North Shields and Abbeyfields School in Morpeth.

For further information contact Cara Charlton on 0191 301 6720.

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