Projects – SUDS

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Love your Cinderford Brook: “SuDS” project

Holly Turner – Engagement Projects Officer

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

When it rains, it pours. When it pours…it floods!

Cinderford is no stranger to the devastation flooding can cause, but what can we do about that and how can lessons from nature itself help us create more climate resilient cities and towns?

Urban environments disrupt the natural water cycle due to hard “impermeable” surfaces such as roofs, pavements, driveways, and roads. Rain hits these surfaces and is unable to soak down or “infiltrate” into groundwater reserves so instead accumulates on the surface to become “runoff”.

In contrast, a natural cycle enables water to soak into the ground whilst supporting a process called “evapotranspiration” where plants use the water to grow, and soils evaporate water back into the atmosphere for the cycle to continue. The differences between the two processes are so great that a typical city block generates over 5 times more runoff than a woodland area of the same size!

Large amounts of run off spells disaster not just for flooding within towns and cities, but for the health of our local waterways too. As runoff travels through urban areas pollutants such as oil, sediment, fertilizers, and other chemicals are collected and washed into local rivers and streams. This can destroy water quality and seriously harm the aquatic plants and animals living there.

What are we doing about it?

Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust are championing the use of natural solutions and are running community projects to promote sustainable urban drainage systems, or “SuDS”.

SuDS come in many forms such as green roofs, swales, permeable paving, water butts, and rain garden planters to name a few. They are designed to temporarily store water during storm events, slowing the flow of water and reducing runoff to mimic a more natural water cycle in urban areas. Types of SuDS like rain garden planters also provide biodiversity benefits by creating habitat for wildlife and amenity benefits by creating a greenspace for people to enjoy.

Following the success of last year’s “Gloucester Rainscapes” project and the rain garden planters at the Friendship Café and Kingsholm Rugby Stadium in Gloucester, we are now in Cinderford to build more!

The “Love your Cinderford Brook” project is funded by Severn Trent and the Environment Agency, will run for 2 years, and looks to build a range of SuDS features in Cinderford town to showcase natural solutions whilst provide the four benefits of: reduced flood risk, removal of runoff pollutants, increased urban biodiversity and enhanced public spaces.

We have been off to a cracking start with the recent completion of 2 rain garden planters at the Miners Welfare Hall.

Thank you to the Miners Welfare Hall for coming on board with the project and to the volunteers for their hard work building these features so we can promote natural solutions to the community.

What can you do?

If you’d like to help turn Cinderford from grey to green, we would love to hear from you. This project is all about engaging locals in the community; have your say and get involved. Please email: