Stonbury was contracted to complete works along a tributary of the River Avon in Worcestershire. The works were necessary to maximise conveyance and improve the positive impact of the flood storage area upstream.

Blockages along the brook caused by tree’s, silt and debris, had resulted in water flooding the channel and saturating the surrounding land. Nearby homeowners were also affected by the floodwater, particularly during heavy rainfall.

An initial inspection highlighted a number of obstructions including fallen trees, overgrown reeds, brambles & vegetation, overhanging branches, rotten logs and some areas along the brook which required further assessment by the client.

The team commenced works downstream and worked their way up through each village. Initially, hedge cutters were used to clear obstructions, cutting back any overhanging vegetation to open the channel up. The scope also included the removal of a collapsed steel fence which had fallen inwards of the stream.

For parts of the work, new electric-powered tools were used to cut back heavily overgrown reeds, overhanging brambles and vegetation. The use of battery-powered equipment was trialled as a part of Stonbury’s journey to lower carbon emissions. However, on this occasion, they were also extremely useful in the reduction of noise pollution for residents.

Further upstream, the team identified several trees where pollarding was required and some large rock obstructions below a small footbridge. Once cleared, the material was removed and taken to a local site as green waste.

During the works, American Signal Crayfish - an alien invasive species which threaten native crayfish stocks - were identified, so the team implemented standard biosecurity measures, including the use of an agricultural disinfectant on equipment, tools and PPE, between sites.

Some sections of the stream ran along the back of residential property and required discussions with the homeowners to agree on the level of cutback. This was to ensure the end result would effectively reduce the potential for flood risk, whilst leaving enough for aesthetic purposes and habitat.

The client was extremely happy with the completed works, more specifically, the positive feedback from the landowners and locals, including what they have learnt about the importance of channel management to reduce the risk of flooding.

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