Creating a ‘low-flow’ channel – UPDATE!

Further to my post last week (in italics below) about the installation of a low flow channel near the West Street Bridge a few things have happened…

The story is fairly complicated but the upshot is that due to local issues around surface water and sewage flooding around Tanners Street, Southern Water have decided to do some investigations of the local drainage network. This could include the Westbrook. While our planned works are consented, after discussions with KCC (the lead local flood authority), Swale Borough Council and the Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board, it has been decided to postpone the installation of the low-flow channel near the West Street bridge until more is understood about the drainage situation around Tanners Street.

As a result, on Saturday, instead of working at West Street, we will be concentrating on the installation of the low-flow channel downstream of the works started in July 2017 – at the footbridge between The Knole and Beech Close. If you would like to join the work party doing this work, please contact us via this website.

Thank you everyone!

On Saturday 17th November 2018, the Friends of the Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond, supported by the North West Kent Countryside Partnership, will continue the process of installing a series of stakes and bundles of thin chestnut branches into this section of the Westbrook, working upstream from West Street.

The aim of this work is to create a gently curving ‘low flow channel’. In times of low water flow (most of the time these days) the stream’s flow will be concentrated in the narrow section between the bundles with the aim of scouring the stream bed and exposing the natural chalk and gravel which line the bed. Over time, this should look better than the brown silted stream bed and will create a more diverse and improved environment for invertebrates and fish which, in turn, ducks and birds feed on.

In times of high flow, water will fill the stream channel and the areas behind the bundles will silt up. In the spring these areas will be planted with native species such as yellow flag iris, marsh marigolds, water forget-me-not and water veronica.

This work has been consented by the Lower Medway Internal Drainage Board (LMIDB) and importantly is not deemed to increase the risk of flooding. The Friends of the Westbrook are supported by the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership, theMedway Valley Countryside Partnership (who drew up the plans for this work and obtained consent from the LMIDB), Swale Borough Council and The Environment Agency.

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