Sustainability News from Shropshire

Sustainable Drainage Scheme wins an Environment and Sustainability award

May 11th 2016
Shropshire Council and Mouchel Consulting have won an Environment and Sustainability award for a sustainable drainage scheme that was completed last autumn. The award was given by the Institute of Highway Engineers Mercia Branch.

The drainage scheme was implemented at Battlefield in Shrewsbury with the aim of reducing flood risk to the A49. In a press release, Shropshire Council said the scheme involved removing a number of traditional highway drainage gullies and instead allowing water to run over the surface into a large swale, or depression, in the verge. The water is stored in the swale and then released slowly back into the existing drainage system. The system reduces the rate of flow from the highway and also reduces the risk of flooding downstream.

As we reported in a previous news item, the scheme is the first in a series of initiatives called ‘Slow the Flow,’ which involves Shropshire Council working in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency allocated £70,000 for the first year of the project (2015-16), which aims to capture and slowly release surface water using natural methods before it reaches the county’s rivers. The funding was allocated from the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Risk Management (FCRM) Grant in Aid budget.

The six-year ‘Slow the Flow’ project takes a catchment-management approach to flood risk, an alternative to the traditional approach of building flood defences. The aim is to work with landowners and community action groups in a number of catchments, using local knowledge and a variety of methods to slow river flows near to their source, thereby reducing flood risk to communities downstream. The Environment Agency has provisionally allocated £350,00 to support the six-year programme of works which will extend the project into the wider Corvedale catchment.

For more information on ‘Slow the Flow’ in Shropshire, see the Shropshire Wildlife Trust website.

Tarmac’s Eardington Quarry now a Local Wildlife Site

Eardington Quarry, near Bridgnorth, used to be an active sand and gravel quarry until it ceased operations in 2012. The 20 hectare site was acquired by Shropshire Council in 2013 on a long-term lease from Tarmac. In 2014, BBC News reported that a programme of work was planned which would transform the site into a nature reserve.

Site surveys had revealed that the former quarry is home to several important species, including nationally rare types of hoverfly and solitary bees, as well as great crested newts and little ringed plover. The site was awarded more than £18,500 by the SITA Trust, which supports community and environmental improvement projects through the Landfill Communities Fund. The BBC report said: “The money would be used to improve access, create pools and wetlands areas, put up fencing and remove trees. An artificial sand martin nesting bank will also be installed.”

A team of volunteers helped to transform the site and the quarry reopened last year as Eardington Nature Reserve. The reserve is managed by the Shropshire Outdoor Partnerships Service, working in partnership with the Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve. Agg-Net reports that the restored landscape “consists of a variety of grassland species, ancient woodland, pools and rare plants, which support a diverse range of wildlife, including invertebrates and great crested newt.”

Twelve months on, Shropshire Wildlife Trust has now awarded the reserve the status of a Local Wildlife Site. Ian Barrie, Chair of Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve, said: “The designation of the title ‘Local Wildlife Site’ is significant, as it had to be demonstrated that the nature reserve was home to several locally or nationally rare species. We are delighted to now see numerous rare species flourishing at the site.”

Tarmac’s Estates Manager Malcolm Lawer said: “This is a great example of how, over a relatively short period of time and by working in partnership with experts, former quarries can become valuable wildlife sites and provide an amenity for local people to enjoy.”

For further information on the reserve, see the Friends of Eardington Nature Reserve website.


Photo from Wikimedia Commons shows the construction of a swale. Sustainable drainage systems use a variety of techniques, one of which is artificial swales or bioswales. Swales are designed to manage rainwater run-off by spreading it along an elevation contour line and facilitating its infiltration into the soil.