'Leaky Dams' as Flood Defences

    • Client: Essex County Council
    • Local Planning Authority: Essex
    • Location: Thaxted
    • Date: 01 March 2017

In the first project of its kind in Essex, a series of 'leaky dams' have been built into a Thaxted watercourse to help reduce the risk of surface water flooding to a number of local properties whilst improving wildlife habitats.

Felled trees and other woody debris were pinned into the river bank allowing water to flow freely when levels are normal. In times of flooding, the flow of water is slowed, reducing pressure on the dam by still allowing water through. Leaky dams also prevent flood water from washing away soil and silt from eroded river banks.

The scheme saw Suffolk Punch horses - a rare breed of heavy horse traditionally used in logging and the transportation of wood products - extracting felled trees from Garnetts Wood, Dunmow. The felled timber and woody debris were sustainably harvested from the Council’s own estate as part of Place Services' Essex Woodland Project.

Place Services played an instrumental role in the project, providing initial arboricultural advice to inform the design of the scheme and then working closely with Essex County Council's flood management team to supply the timber and horse power.

Leaky dams is an excellent example of financially and sustainable land management, with conservation of an important ancient woodland helping to deliver innovative flood alleviation measures. 

View a short video about leaky dams.




People involved