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Funding secured for natural flood management scheme

Willow Brook in Leicester

LEICESTER is to receive £834,000 of Government cash to help tackle flood risk using nature-based solutions. 

The Environment Agency funding will be used to make improvements to the Willow Brook catchment, which runs through the east of the city into the River Soar, as well as to the Bushby, Thurnby and Evington brooks.

The Leicester Urban Natural Flood Management project will be a partnership between Leicester City Council and local rivers charity Trent Rivers Trust.  

“We know that flooding can have a major impact on homes and businesses,” said Dr Jon Lewis, data, evidence and project manager at Trent Rivers Trust.

“We work to create natural features such as ponds upstream of where problems can occur – this is called natural flood management. The natural features we create can temporarily store water upstream of properties at flood risk. 

“Some of this work will take place outside the city boundaries, but will have a positive impact in the city. Measures will include an introduction and expansion of wetlands, a boost in tree planting and other natural means to provide additional storage for rainwater. This will allow water to percolate into the ground or slowly flow into the watercourse once peak flows have passed at times of heavy rainfall. It also means we will enhance green spaces within the city for the community, and introduce new and improved habitat for wildlife.” 

Deputy city mayor for climate, economy and culture Cllr Adam Clarke said: “This deserved funding boost will be welcomed by local councillors and residents, particularly those who have experienced the devastating consequences of flooding.   

"Protecting the city from flood risk has been an ongoing task for many, many decades and this is the latest in a series of interventions made in recent years – made more important because of the onset of climate change. 

"This brilliant partnership between the city council and Trent Rivers Trust is helping to protect properties and make our blue and green spaces attractive for people and nature alike, for many years to come.” 

Natural flood management is increasingly being used as part of a range of measures helping to address increasing flood risk across the whole country.  

Local schools and the wider community will also benefit from the project, which will continue until March 2027. As part of the work, public green spaces will see a nature boost, with seeded wetlands and trees providing vital nesting and foraging habitat and increased planting helping to filter out pollutants. 

The project will build on the highly successful work the city council and Trent Rivers Trust completed on the Saving Saffron Brook project, which saw parts of Saffron Brook in the city re-shaped and re-naturalised, creating multiple benefits for people and nature as well as helping to reduce flood risk by slowing the flow of water through the city. 

Extensive information about flood prevention in Leicester is available on the city council’s website. People can sign up for flood alerts, find out about the flood risk to their property and learn who does what in the event of a flood at