High Water Common Ground is an independent production, with official support from
Extreme flooding events in recent years have devastated countless communities throughout the UK, and it is only a matter of time before such destructive waters are seen again. Beyond the immediate, obvious loss of livelihood and business, the impacts of these floods have permeated much deeper, affecting communities both physically and psychologically, and affecting the relationships between the people most affected and those charged with alleviating the damage.
But from amidst this chaos, communities have pulled together more strongly than ever, and opportunity has emerged to find new and innovative solutions to the threat of flooding. These are solutions that have the potential to satisfy every stakeholder, and benefit land and water on every level. Such 'natural' flood risk managemetn techniques are in no way a universal or absolute solution, but their potential for significant contribution to flood pressure alleviation is widely accepted.
In a documentary-meets-toolkit, High Water Common Ground meets the communities most affected by flooding, examines the needs of the parties involved, and explores some of the most innovative methods of flood risk management using real examples from around the country.
About the production team
Producer Andy Clark is an MSc graduate of Ecology and Environmental Management, and passionate communicator of science. Andy is an experienced voice artist, presenter and filmmaker aka. The Top Of The Tree, and will be providing the objective voice-over narration for this film in order to properly tell the stories of the parties involved, and drive home the core messages of community understanding, and the values of working in partnership. This project is being designed and produced with every stakeholder in mind, to present and fulfil the needs of every involved trust and agency who manages the land and waterways, and of every town and community who feel the threat of flooding on their doorstep. Through this film, Andy wishes to present an opportunity to increase understanding between parties who have, in the past, experienced contention, to ease communications, and to present a national attitude of community, support, and best effort.
First Camera Ben Sadd is an award-winning photographer aka. The Trail To Anywhere, whose skills have received international recognition. His extraordinary adventures and stunning ability behind the lens hold him in great acclaim.
Sound Recordist and Composer Peter Baumann is an exceptionally talented young composer and sound designer, whose dissertation piece The Evolution of Madagascar, received the first 100% ever awarded from the University of York dept of Music.
Contributors and Case Studies
Pont Bren - Collaboration of Farmers
When a group of farmers banded together to manage their land more sustainably, they had no idea of the impacts on flood risk management their project would have.
Calder Valley - Dongria Kond
Severely hit by recent floods, the Calder Valley is currently bursting with energy to tackle the threat of future floods. Dongria describes local efforts and the strategic use of trees as flood defences.
Pickering - Mike Potter
In 2014, Pickering became one of three DEFRA pilot projects in upstream management and 'slowing-the-flow'. Mike tells us how impactful it has been in just that time.
Eddlestone Water - Prof Chris Spray
An ongoing trail of natural flood management looks promising for collecting the much called-for evidence needed to predict and quantify it's impact.
Shropshire Slowing The Flow - Jayne Disley and Geoff Neden
Small-scale 'NFM' schems can be implemented in very rural locations, but have strong cumulative effects downstream - as utilised between the villages of Diddlebury and Culmington.
Brompton - Sue Butler
After discussions with major stakeholders, the Brompton Flood Action Group are working with a local farmer to install a series of leaky dams into their catchment.
Shipston - Phil Wragg
Effective flood risk managemen schemes can serve many purposes, and establishing an ambitious multi-agency partnership may just be the way to achieve them all.
Stroud - Chris Uttley
After exhaustive flooding, The Stroud District Council and residents realised that their best option of defence was to create some innovative natural flood management.
Atkinson Farm - Rob Atkinson
As a Countryside Stewardship farmer, Rob has an admirably holistic approach to farming, believing that we all have a part to play in looking out for each other and the environment.
Belford - Dr Alex Nicholson
From his work as a PhD student on the upland management work at Belford, Alex describes the various ways that the impact of projects can be measured.
Dykehead - Dr Paul Quinn
After the success of his work at Belford, Paul is now addressing the issue of 'scaling-up' natural flood risk management throughout larger areas.
North Pennines AONB - Emma Taylor
Up in the moorlands of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, peatland restoration is blocking 'grips' and rejuvenating this great natural resource.
Peak District - Chris Dean
Atmospheric pollution has acidified and grossly degraded the peat moorland of the Peak District. Thanks to innovative techniques in Sphagnum regeneration, Chris and his peers are bringing life back to the peat.
Hill Farm - Tim Dunn
Tim describes the life of a hill farmer and his heard, commenting on the landscape that is supported by his work, and noting that grip blocking has had a surprisingly beneficial impact on his farming.
North Yorkshire Moor - Paul Wilson
As head keeper, Paul describes the way in which moorland can be managed for a variety of benefits. In order to address issues such as this, we must understand and apprecie all stakeholder's needs.
Suburban London - SuDS For Schools
Natural Flood Management is not strictly a rural approach, as the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and students of two London schools are proudly demonstrating with their integrated approaches.
Wheldrake Ings - National Nature Reserve
This iconic and ancient flood plain has proven a great success in combining flow-managing flood resilience with a multitude of harmonious environmental benefits.