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Resilient soil and water resources,
understanding the water beneath your feet.


Paul Watson giving us his Tuesday Thoughts for the Policy Week

14 December 2021 - Published by Jens Uvijn

Flooding in Durham

Representing the Durham County Council (UK) during the TOPSOIL Policy Week is Paul Watson, the county’s strategic highways manager. Surface water overflows and flooding are a specific problem for the area he works in. When surface water picks up silt or vegetation debris during a flood incident, for instance, this then effects the water system as well as highway drainage. The latter, in turn, creates associated flooding in adjoining lands and properties


“We have many roadwork groups who can be called upon to do routine maintenance on our surface water systems, and are also notified if there is a potential flood risk for the highway or a property. But this is costly - about GBP 2000 a day – plus extra operational costs”, Paul explains. “We believe some of the problems could be avoided. There are significant opportunities for the Council and stakeholders at the Wear Rivers’ Trust and landowners in the area to work with our drainage and coastal protection team to identify solutions that mitigate surface water overflows. Currently, road closures and traffic management are the predominant solutions for flood issues.”

Cooperation with all stakeholders

Clearly, Durham county Council is actively searching for cooperation with all stakeholders to jointly resolve some of the challenges they are facing as a result of heavy downpours. A joint approach involving all stakeholders, be it soil management with landowners or additional ditch clearance, is the way to go according to Paul Watson. “That’s a valuable lesson we’ve taken from our cooperation in the TOPSOIL project”, he concludes.

 Watch the full video below