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Durkar Flood alleviation

LAND OFF GREEN ACRES, DURKAR LOW LANE, DURKAR
WATERCOURSE and DRAINAGE MANAGEMENT WORKS
07/04/09

The site is situated off Greenacres, Durkar Low Lane, Durkar and is in private ownership. The new landowner has only owned the site since autumn 2008. Input from local residents has significantly helped to secure the above works.

Over the winter Wakefield MDC Drainage Section liaised with the new landowner, undertook ecological and engineering surveys and liaised with Natural England. The site is a known Great Crested Newt site.

Runoff from the surrounding land and the Greenacres public highway drains into the watercourse crossing the land. The watercourse had become silted up and the outlet blocked, with capacity to accommodate floodwater reduced. In periods of wet weather local properties and the Greenacres highway regularly flooded as the water level in the watercourse and surrounding land rose.

In February 2009 permission was granted by the landowner to Wakefield MDC to enter the land to undertake watercourse and drainage management works. The landowner has continued to liaise with and work positively with the Council during the works to secure a permanent solution.

The works were project managed by Wakefield MDC Drainage Section and undertaken over about 7 days by the Wetland and Flood Management Company of North Featherstone in March 2009.

The management works comprised the removal of silt from the watercourse, re-establishment of the blocked watercourse outlet, lowering of the existing water level to its historical level, recreation of historical flood capacity, keeping the area attractive to wildlife, retention of waterside habitat and ensuring the watercourse continued to drain as intended.

Trees on the line of the channel were worked around wherever possible. Where this was infeasible trees were coppiced and the toppings used to build hibernaculars on site. All surplus silt was employed on site.

The works were undertaken to minimise disturbance to wildlife and habitats prior to the beginning of the breeding season.

The site is well used by the public largely for informal walking and dog walking and remained open to the public during the works. Notices informing local members of the public of the proposed works were posted in and around the site prior to works taking place. Health and safety signs were also erected and maintained alerting the local public to machines working in the area and to keep clear of areas of soft or disturbed ground resulting from the works while they reestablish. An attending banksman was employed to prevent access to the works area by the general public. Tracks and footpaths were kept as clear of mud and ruts as possible during the works.

Wakefield MDC Drainage Section is to provide a watercourse and drainage management programme to the landowner for regular maintenance.

Flooding can never be completely solved. There is always a storm event larger than can be accommodated, but the above management works represent a significant improvement to the recent Greenacres drainage situation.