The CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) Sussex select different projects each year for their Countryside Awards. These celebrate projects that enrich and support the Sussex countryside.
Sussex Wildlife Trust is delighted that the Sussex Flow Initiative (SFI) has been given a Countryside Award this year in the category of Promoting Nature and the Countryside.
Sussex Flow Initiative will receive either a Gold, Silver or Bronze 2020 Award. Which one they receive will be revealed at the Awards Ceremony on 14th October (which may need to be virtual because of COVID-19).
This is what CPRE say about the Sussex Flow Initiative:
"The Sussex Flow Initiative is an innovative method of flood management which works with nature to reduce flooding. The project uses Nature’s own flood defences such as hedgerows, flood plains and leaky dams to slow and store the water before it reaches settlements downstream. SFI was formed in 2014, as a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency. It also receives funding from Lewes District Council. The project works with landowners and local people to help communities find natural ways to mitigate and reduce the likelihood of flooding.
‘Our Natural Flood Management measures are cheap, collaborative and easy to implement,’ says Living Landscapes Adviser Fran Southgate. ‘They also deliver many other multiple benefits to society such as carbon storage, pollination, health and wellbeing, and water purification.’
In the year 2019-2020 the project planted 2,826 trees and shrubs, installed 142 natural leaky dams and opened up 0.35 hectares of natural floodplain. These measures have not only stored nearly 3 million litres of water, they have also provided habitat for wading birds, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates.
A recent study showed that the project has had a lasting impact on the local people involved by increasing their connection with nature and improving their health and wellbeing. Local schools have also benefited through activities such as the project’s ‘Behave like a Beaver’ days.
Most people involved with SFI have stated that they would take further action for nature and the environment as a result of their participation."
More about the Sussex Flow Initiative here.
The full list of CPRE award winners can be found here