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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An ongoing trail of natural flood management looks promising for collecting the much called-for evidence needed to predict and quantify it’s impact.
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.
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.
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.
After exhaustive flooding, The Stroud District Council and residents realised that their best option of defence was to create some innovative natural flood management.
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.
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.
After the success of his work at Belford, Paul is now addressing the issue of ‘scaling-up’ natural flood risk management throughout larger areas.
Up in the moorlands of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, peatland restoration is blocking ‘grips’ and rejuvenating this great natural resource.
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.
Tim describes the life of a hill farmer and his flock, commenting on the landscape that is supported by his work, and noting that grip blocking has had a surprisingly beneficial impact on his farming.
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.
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.
This iconic and ancient flood plain has proven a great success in combining flow-managing flood resilience with a multitude of harmonious environmental benefits.
Duncan Huggett, Environment Agency
Jeff Pacey, Environment Agency
Rob Cathcart, Natural England
Alistair Maltby, The Rivers Trust
Dianne Millis, The Woodland Trust
Prof Alastair Driver, Catchment Restoration Specialist
Amanda Anderson, Moorland Association
Ben Connor, British Ecological Society
Bob Vaughan, Natural Resources Wales
Becky Willis, Independent Researcher
Andrew Herbert, Lake District National Parks Authority
Nick Hulme, United Utilities
Alastair Chisholm, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
Mark Simpson, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Andy Graham, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Jeremy Biggs, Freshwater Habitats Trust
Dr Alex Nicholson, Arup
Peter Smith, West Sussex County Council
Martin Rogers, National Farmers Union
Dongria Kond, Treesponsibility
Mike Potter, Pickering Civic Society
Geoff Neden, Diddlebury Flood Action Group
Rob Atkinson, Atkinson Farms
Gareth Dockerty, British Association of Shooting and Conservation
Heather Shepherd, National Flood Forum
Stewart Prodger, SEPA
Debi Garft, Scottish Government
Mark Wilkinson, James Hutton Institute
Ian Creighton, Cumbria Rivers Trust
Prof Mike Acreman, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Chris Uttley, Stroud District Council
Prof Chris Spray, University of Dundee
Dr Nick Odoni, Durham University
Gareth Davies, Coed Cymru
Dr Tim Pagella, Bangor University
Dr Martin Evans, Manchester University
Jason Reeves, Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management
Chris Dean, Moors For The Future
David Mount, Upland Hydrology Group
Brenda Pollack, Rewilding Britain
Graham Chaplin-Brice, Cumbria Farm Owner
William Chaplin-Brice, Cumbria Farmer
Lynne Jones, Keswick Flood Action Group
Sue Butler, Brompton Flood Prevention Group
Tim Dunn, Hill Farmer North York Moors
Paul Wilson, Head Keeper North York Moors
Mark Owen, The Angling Trust
Craig Ralston, Natural England
In March 2017, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to help support the finalisation of High Water Common Ground, and kick-off www.highwaterfilm.co.uk
Nearly 50 backers rallied behind the cause, and together helped raise a total of over £5,000 to bring High Water to culmination.
Producer Andy Clark would like to personally thank each and every one who supported this campaign: