Scottish Borders Natural Flood Management – Feasibility Study

We’ve been appointed by the Scottish Borders Council to undertake a whole catchment Natural Flood Management (NFM) feasibility study in order to assess and test the effectiveness of potential NFM measures being utilised in the catchment to reduce flood risk downstream.

As part of the project, a desk-based hydrological assessment has been supported through targeted site walkovers to develop a “realistic” NFM scenario for subsequent modelling. Our NFM specialists undertook this catchment walkover over 3 days in November 2022. The visit allowed us to develop our hydrological analysis of the catchment, further than the desk-based assessment initially allowed. This walkover also allowed us to ground truth the potential NFM measures, understand their feasibility through landowner engagement and collect vital information on local constraints and potential. This was further aided by our collaborative work alongside Tweed Forum.

Tweed Forum’s local knowledge helped to showcase some of the great nature-based solutions work already undertaken across the catchment by the landowners. Including floodplain woodland planting and peatland restoration. These sites were clearly improving the local habitat and water quality, whilst slowing the flow and decreasing flood risk downstream. Such natural improvements have also been shown within the nearby Eddleston Water catchment, another Tweed Forum and JBA-focused project.

JBA site team conducting hydrological analysisAlthough this fantastic local work has already been undertaken in the catchment, we located several additional sites where improvements could be made to the catchment’s resilience for water quality and biodiversity. These improvements would also provide additional benefits for both landowners and communities at risk.

The project continues to quantify the benefits of NFM within the catchment on the communities at risk through catchment scale hydraulic modelling. The benefits of implementing such a scheme to reduce flood risk will be highlighted to Scottish Borders Council, to help not only inform the potential for future works in the catchment but also inform flood risk management cycles in the future.

NFM Modelling

We are one of the leading providers of NFM in the UK. Due to our extensive experience, we have recently been appointed by the Environment Agency to lead the modelling elements of the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) NFM Research Programme (QNFM and LANDWISE NFM projects). The scope of the research has been co-designed with project partners Defra, the Environment Agency, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to improve understanding of different NFM measures for a range of flood risk scenarios across different catchment scales and characteristics.

Want to know more?

We have over 15 years of experience in NFM and have led the consortium that helped to develop SEPA’s NFM Handbook (published in 2014) and the EA’s Working with Natural Processes national evidence base (published in 2017). If you would like more information about our services in this area, please contact our NFM team here or visit our Natural Flood Management webpages.

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