Community flood groups urged to apply for new grant scheme

A key aim of the watercourse grant initiative is to increase the resilience of communities to flooding

A key aim of the watercourse grant initiative is to increase the resilience of communities to flooding and to encourage them to form flood action groups. - Credit: Cambridgeshire County Council

Community flood groups in Cambridgeshire are being encouraged to apply for a new watercourse grant to help protect vulnerable properties from flooding. 

The riparian watercourse grant aims to provide funding to communities where riparian owners cannot be identified (either by communities or the county council) or are unable to undertake riparian maintenance themselves. 

Members of the Environment and Green Investment Committee met in September and agreed to launch the new fund. 

Certain applications for funding will be given special consideration to ensure that smaller, more rural, and more isolated communities or residents are not excluded. 

A key aim of this initiative by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) is to increase the resilience of communities to flooding and to encourage them to form flood action groups. 

Cllr Lorna Dupre, chair of the Environment and Green Investment Committee at CCC, said: “The new grants form an important part of our climate change and environment strategy and also link to our think communities focus. 

“Watercourses play a crucial role in managing flood risk to people and property in Cambridgeshire. 

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“That’s why it’s important to ensure that they’re well maintained and kept free from debris and obstructions and do not become overgrown. 

“Projected increases in extreme rainfall will bring increased risk of flooding. 

“Last winter, more than 300 homes across the county were flooded.” 

There are hundreds of watercourses in Cambridgeshire, all of which have a responsible ‘riparian’ owner (the landowner whose land the watercourse is either in, or neighbours). 

Many residents do not realise that they are riparian owners and have responsibilities for watercourses on or next to their property. 

As a result, there is a widespread lack of regular watercourse maintenance around the county, causing issues like ‘trash screens’ to be blocked with litter, which holds water back and causes flooding. 

Applications for funding will be assessed on addressing recognised flooding issues, engaging with the local community and ecological benefits amongst others. 

These will be reviewed every two months, beginning in December 2021. 

For more information, visit the website. 

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