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Restoration of Bonds Mill Paleo Channel

Since the meeting in June this year we have been working with the Environment Agency to increase our understanding of how the river works and what will be necessary to restore the disused channel.

  • Two continuous water level monitors have been installed and multiple additional flow gaugings are being taken at 5 places along the river to better understand how much water is available across a wide range of flows. Looking at how flows are currently split at places where the channel is already divided is a useful reference, and will help determine a sustainable flow to be allowed to enter the paleo channel.
  • Trial pits have been dug along the course of the old channel to investigate the nature of the soils, the existing water table, and the depth of the original river bed. This work was done under archaeological supervision informed by an Archaeological desk Based Assessment of the Lower Frome undertaken a couple of years ago.
  • Additional levels and habitat surveys have been undertaken
  • Liaison with key stakeholders such as landowners, network rail and Severn Trent Water has been ongoing.
  • We have gone to competitive tender for the design of the palaeochannel reinstatement and are currently in discussions with potential consultants.
  • Riverfly workshop held for volunteers at Brimscombe.
  • There has been a review of the weirs at Churchend and how the operating regime could be refined.

What`s Next

Appoint a designer before Christmas

They will look more closely at the constraints and opportunities and suggest ways to create an easement for fish and restore wetland habitat for maximum biodiversity benefit. They will update the existing Flood model to help suggest options that are flood neutral of even beneficial.

Apply for flood defence consents, transfer licenses, planning applications and comply with other statutory requirements.

This will include demonstrating that restoration of continuous flows into the disused seasonal channel achieves the desired project outcomes without a significant adverse impact on the depleted reach of the River Frome.

Construction

We would be looking to have completed on the ground works a year from now by end of October 2016.
There may be a need to excavate a small pond on the of the channel to monitor ground water levels before Christmas

Community and stakeholder engagement

SRT and EA are committed to continuing to engage with local communities and land owners regarding this project. Options are being explored on how best to continue the dialogue.

As a minimum there will be a drop-in session at a key milestone, for example when there are some firm options or outline designs to consider. In the meanwhile SRT propose liaising directly with Parish Councils, representatives of local flood groups and with individuals directly impacted by the works (nearby householders and land owners). Engagement events will be publicised to and through these parties.

The Severn Rivers Trust welcomes comments and suggestions and these can be submitted via admin@severnriverstrust.com

For more information on the work stated above, please see the following documents:

Appendix 1 – Update – Bonds Mill Channel Restoration Oct 2015 v 3 Appendix 2 – River Frome Restoration – Vision and work to date Oct 2015 Invitation to Public Drop-In Event Minutes – Bonds Mill Channel Restoration Engagement event June 2015 (1)-1