There are a number of options to manage water in a way that mimics nature – for example by using natural flood storage areas; creating soakage basins (also known as rural SuDS); reconnecting the river with the flood plain or adding trees for shade and buffer strips along the river/streams. These could help with flood alleviation; reduce silt and pollutants getting into the river and aid the natural infiltration to provide additional water to support local streams and deliver environmental benefits. However, this level of aquifer recharge is unlikely to provide a reliable or quantifiable source of water for abstraction.

The River Deben between Earl Soham and Ufford fails to meet Water Framework Directive standards, mainly due to the number of man-made structures that are impassable to fish; siltation and areas of poor water quality. To some extent the latter is mitigated by the use of a support borehole that adds water to the river when flows are very low – but this is not a long term, sustainable solution. There are a number of options worth considering such as altering the channel width, removal of weirs, constructing a dual channel, reinstating farm ponds and tree planting (to provide shade and thus lower water temperatures). Most options would require the co-operation of the land/riparian owners to progress.

East Suffolk Catchments Partnership (ESCP) who are hosted by the Essex and Suffolk River Trust, together with the Environment Agency’s Water Framework Directive team are undertaking investigations and consultations with relevant owners into possible options that could be delivered in the near future. Click here for information about the East Suffolk Catchments Partnership.

The latest East Suffolk Catchment Partnership Newsletter highlights projects that have been completed, new ones planned, and the great work being done across the East Suffolk Partnership over the last 12 months, as well funding available for natural flood management projects.

Working with sympathetic landowners, the ESCP have restored almost 1km of back channels in water meadows alongside the river at Easton, along with a silt trap to intercept road runoff. The back channels incorporate a simple dam and pipe structure (pictured right), which allows the landowner to hold onto flood water for longer (keeping the meadows wet and encouraging aquifer recharge) but also to drain the meadows if required. Further upstream the ESCP has, with the help of the Wild Trout Trust, installed two ‘large woody debris’ structures to enhance the channel morphology within the river and provide refuges and nursery areas for juvenile fish.

Another project in development is a Proposal for the Removal of Brandeston Control Boards near Brandeston School (pictured left) which is currently being discussed with relevant landowners. Click here to view the Brandeston Control Boards Stakeholder Meeting Minutes. Click here to view a River habitat enhancement works Facesheet about the project.

A project to improve water quality by intercepting road run off at Wilford Bridge was investigated, but has subsequently been put on hold due to other environmental and water level concerns. Notes from meetings to discuss this issue are available on left of page under ‘Minutes & Papers’.

The HWMP group is continuing to discuss other opportunities as they arise, and landowners wishing to consider such opportunities should make contact with us.

Sub Group Leads:

Will Akast, Environment Agency. Email:
Chris McArthur, Essex & Suffolk Rivers Trust. Email: