Post archive

Meeting with BCC Engineer

Today a small group of Valley Road householders met with Jonathan Roberts, the BCC engineer who has been the main contact for the various Valley Road flooding events. Debs Lemon requested this meeting following the 1st October downpour when the road (and the ditch along Valley Road) was overwhelmed over such a short period.

Regarding work previously discussed with Jonathan, he confirmed that:

1. Road drains and possibly ditches are planned to be cleaned in November

-       2. Further work to bring into play the large soakaway, believed to be at the corner of Coombe Gdns, is planned for next year, date presently unknown. Jonathan believes this will have a significant impact on reducing the amount of water coming down Coombe Lane and hitting Valley Road.

-         3. The planned resurfacing of the Village Hall area of Valley Road has been recommended but it seems that there is little sign of this happening. This work would involve changing the camber of the road to prevent water simply sitting on the road.

 For next year’s work, Jonathan has agreed to take on an action to consider introducing house drive defences (e.g. a lip to a drive) and/or gully work along the pavement on the east side of Valley Road. This would probably need to be done from the corner of Boss Lane down to the industrial estate and would involve discussions with householders to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Jonathan can see that where some house owners have altered their drives to prevent water coming in (me included), it simply pushes the problem further along the road.   

This work seems to be really necessary as all the work undertaken so far to improve the road drainage has helped to a degree, but it seems probable that whatever BCC do, we will continue to have water pouring off the road and along the pavements if it rains hard enough.


Downpour on 1st October

On the 1st of October there was a major thunderstorm accompanied by very heavy rain in the Valley. It was reported that this may have been the heaviest rain in many years and resulted in Valley Road being awash and householders again having water pouring down their drives and into the garage. Amazingly, the very heaviest rain only lasted twenty minutes,  so we can be thankful it wasn't for any longer.

As you can see from the pictures below, in addition to the large amount of water on the pavement on the east side of Valley Road, the ditch on the west side struggled to get the water away. 

BCC have been made aware of the problems faced that day and will be visiting to discuss with affected householders.

This Week's Rain

The heavy rain this week has yet again caused localised flooding (especially Park Parade), but Valley Road has coped well with it so far. What does tend to happen with these rains is the large amounts of silt that gets swept along and left either on the road margins or in the road drains. Once the road drains fill up, keeping the road free of water becomes increasingly difficult.

This week Debs Lemon reported a number of blocked road drains near the bottom of Coombe Lane to Bucks County Council via the 'Fix My Street' website. 

Unfortunately, Debs recived a reply saying that no work was necessary. To emphasise the  point, Debs sent a number of photos which clearly show that there is indeed a problem - see below. Let's hope for a better reply from the Council this time.

If you haven't used the 'Fix My Street' website before, see the HVDIG Advice page.


Summer Hughenden News DIG Article

Last year Bucks CC issued its Land Drainage Enforcement Policy. This essentially lays out how the Council will manage and control water courses in its area. Most of these watercourses (which include rivers, streams and our own Hughenden Valley winterbourne stream) run through properties owned by farms, businesses and households).

Having a watercourse on your property confers rights and responsibilities, which are termed Riparian, meaning relating to the banks of a river or stream. Those of us with the stream in our gardens in the Valley will be aware that for most years it is a depression or ditch in the garden with no water in it, and there is little requirement to pay heed to it other than perhaps cutting grass or weeding it. However, it is important that riparian rights and responsibilities are understood, particularly by affected householders, to ensure proper actions are taken to manage flood risk. 

Reproduced here is a section of the Guidance for Riparian Owners, which is part of the Land Drainage Enforcement Policy. The full document can be accessed via the Documents page on the HVDIG web site at:

Riparian Owners' Rights
1. If your land boundary is adjacent to a watercourse it is assumed that you own the land up to the centre of the watercourse, unless stated otherwise in your property
2. If a watercourse runs through or underneath (through a culvert or pipe) land that you own. It is assumed that you own this stretch of watercourse .
3. You have the right to protect your property from flooding, and your land from erosion. However, you must get any plans approved by the relevant authority prior to starting work (see the section on land drainage consent).

Riparian Owners' Responsibilities
1.  You must let water flow through your land without any obstruction, pollution or diversion which affects the rights of others.
2. You must accept flood flows through your land, even if these are caused by insufficient capacity downstream .
3. You must keep the watercourse banks clear of anything that could cause an obstruction
and increase flood risk, either on your land or downstream. This includes any litter or loose vegetation, even if they did not come from your land.
4. It is your responsibility to maintain the bed and banks of the watercourse and the trees and shrubs growing on the banks.
5. You must keep structures, such as culverts, trash screens, weirs and mill gates, clear of debris.

August Update 2019


The AGM was held on Monday 17th June. The minutes of the meeting and financial report are on the Documents page.

Document Changes

Several changes have just been made to the Documents page that are worth taking note of:
1. The Thames Water Drainage strategy documents are now links to a third party source rather than direct downloads from the DIG website. This was done as a result of shortage of space on our site. It is essentially transparent to the user.
2. The link to the document "Bucks CC Riparian Duties of the Hughenden Stream" has changed and the Documents page has been updated so that this document is still fully available. The link has also been updated further back in the blog.
3. A new document "Bucks CC Culvert Policy" has been added. 

Rain in the Valley

It's been a fairly wet few weeks! Some of the rain has been fairly heavy and on 9th August, it was especially so. At Park Parade, Hazlemere  there was significant flooding, which included cars being stranded and the fire brigade having to pump out the road. We in the Valley were more fortunate - the really heavy rain did not seem to last more than perhaps 30 minutes here. Valley Road became awash, but not badly so, and it is fair to say that the drainage coped well and excess water quickly dispersed once the rain eased a mite. I am not aware of any problems further up the village. 

As so often happens, the ditch down to the pumping station in Valley Road carried along a load of detritus and deposited it at the entrance to the culvert. We will alert Transport for Bucks for it to be cleared.

June Update 2019

Well, it has been a fairly uneventful winter and spring with little significant rain to test last years road drainage improvements and the sewage system. As a result, there has been little to say on the blog page, hence the lack of content - a good thing I would guess.

The Valley appears to have got off lightly with the poor weather of the last week. While some areas have suffered badly with very heavy rain and flooding, we have not seen the massive downpours and the village has not seen any flooding, unless you know different. Phew.

The AGM has been confirmed for Monday 17th June at 7.30pm in case you are interested or haven't received the invite. It's being held at Paul & Carolyn Woodford's, Elwood, Valley Road. Opposite the village hall on Valley Road and a few steps along towards the Surgery.

A new document has been added to the Documents page. It's the latest update from Thames Water to the Little Marlow Drainage Strategy. It summarises activities undertaken since the last update in 2018 together with ongoing monitoring plans, so worth a look. 

The DIG had raised a concern with Thames Water that no mention was made in this document of the temporary mobile treatment units held at Little Marlow in case of further sewage flooding in the Valley. However, we are assured that this document is in addition to the original strategy document, and is not intended to replace it. In addition TW have confirmed that the 2 treatment units remain at the Little Marlow deport ready for deployment as needed. 

Valley Road Works Follow-on

Following the road drainage works carried out in the summer, there have been two instances of further work in recent weeks. I am sure everyone will have seen the road works which so disrupted the traffic in Valley Road in the village hall area.

The first lot of work was the finalisation of the drainage improvements and involved raising of the setts to a number of drives affected by excess water on the road during heavy rain. 

The second lot of work we really don't know that much about, but think it was to do with the water supply and involved Affinity Water contractors. We know that this area was dug up earlier this year because a leak in the mains supply had been detected. We are not sure that the original leak was repaired at the time. This time however, a considerably larger area of the grass verge and pavement was dug up and now we believe the leak is repaired. This caused a lot of disruption considering the digging was not actually on the road.   

Bucks CC Land Drainage Enforcement Policy

Bucks CC have provided us with a link to their Land Drainage Enforcement Policy document. This covers the Council's responsibilities and powers for the management of watercourses in Bucks. 

In our particular case, HVDIG have been involved with Bucks CC regarding the Hughenden stream, especially where the council is both owner of a section and also the policy enforcer. HVDIG would recommend that residents or businesses in Hughenden Valley who have the Hughenden Stream running through their property should make themselves familiar with this document as it has important implications for them.

A link to the document is on the Documents page, it can also be accessed from here:


Valley Road Works Update

The works along Valley Road near the bottom of Coombe Lane to improve the road surface water drainage are now complete. We had hoped that the lips to drives affected by the surface water would be raised, but this has not happened so far.

Jonathan Roberts of TFB provided us with a plan of the drain, pipe and chamber work undertaken, which is on the Documents web page. Jonathan also provided an update on the work:

"As you will see we have effectively provided at least a 50% increase in capacity for the existing drainage system within the verge areas. We believe this is essential to remove the surface water as quickly as possible from the areas of carriageway and in particular at the junction of Coombe Lane and Valley Road.


At this junction all flows from these roads are currently channelled into an existing 225mm pipe which has now been doubled to provide the additional capacity required to quickly remove these flows to the area of the ditch. Clearly the existing single 225m carrier pipe with ‘blind’ gully connections in this area was inadequate with the corresponding flows remaining on the carriageway surface. This arrangement should also assist in releasing the flows within the existing network approaching the junction with Combe Lane from Valley Road and reduce the amount of surface water retained on the carriageway surface."   


Update to Thames Water H Valley & Little Marlow Position Statement

Following the release of the Thames Water Drainage Strategy document for Hughenden Valley and Little Marlow last year, TW have provided us with an update on this, and which can be found on the Documents page on this website.

The report details work carried out over the last year relating to various type of data gathering and surveys, to help future modelling and better enabling the early identification of issues requiring resolution.   

AGM Time Change - Wed 11th July

To avoid conflict with the World Cup semi-final, please note that the start time of the AGM has been brought forward to 6pm. 


The DIG AGM this year will be held on Wednesday 11th July at 7.30pm at Paul & Carolyn Woodford's home (Elwood, Valley Road - located 4 houses down from the wooden bus stop on the east side of Valley Road).  

Valley Road Works Continue

This month we have seen the return of TFB to Valley Road and the promised works have continued. 

Just one additional road drain is planned in this round of work - this is located by the bus stop outside village hall community shop. 

The bulk of the work is targeted at improving the flow of surface water piped underground from the bottom of coombe lane through to the open ditch that runs down to the pumping station.  To this end, an additional pipe is being added (two exist underground at present) and also several chambers are being added to help flow, connections and access.

Any works to improve the road camber will be the subject of future works, but we understand that the current round of work should involve raising the lip to drives to the houses that have been flooded in the past. 

Night of the Thunderstorms 27th May

The night of Sunday 27th May saw a prolonged series of thunderstorms across the country, with many areas experiencing flooding from the accompanying rain.

In the valley, we suffered a fair amount and the thunder was very loud on several occasions. However, as far as Valley Road was concerned, this coped better than usual with the downpour. In fairness, we have seen harder rain and for longer periods, but during the very intense periods, Valley Road did not become overly awash nor did the drains become overwhelmed.

We saw the rain flowing along the pavement at a fair rate, but as far as we know nobody had water run down their drives and into their garages.

During the heaviest rain late in the evening my wife and I checked the state of the road from our front bedroom and noticed an individual moving in the area of the bus stop opposite the village hall. He appeared to be taking photos of the drains, and would then disappear for a few minutes before returning and doing it again. He was not dressed for the weather and looked like he was getting drenched. We had thought this to be a neighbour accumulating evidence of a problem, but did not recognise who it was, nor could we understand it because the road drains seemed to be coping well.

Several days later,  the mystery was solved. Debs Lemon had received a mail from Jonathan Roberts, project engineer with TFB. He had indicated that after the clearing of ditches and the jetting of the road drainage system in Valley Road near the hall, a camera survey was carried out. This was then to be analysed with a view determining the extent of the second part of the drainage improvements.

In his mail, Jonatan revealed that he had been in the area when the thunderstorm was at its height on Sunday 27th and had taken the opportunity to take videos of how the drainage system actually worked when under pressure. This was an invaluable experience as far as he was concerned; previously both Debs Lemon and I sent images and short video clips to TFB, but it must help for Robert to have seen it for himself.

TFB are now deciding on a number of measures to increase capacity of the system and increase the rate of removal of surface water from the carriageway. In the slightly longer term, Jonathan has recommended that the carriageway is reprofiled because it has very little camber, hence surface water will remain on the surface for longer and increase the amount of the splashing. This combined with the improvements to the drainage should make the situation a lot better.   

May Works in Valley Road

In mid-May Transport for Bucks started the long expected improvements to the village hall area of Valley Road in an attempt to improve the road drainage. 

The major part of the work carried out so far is the jetting of pipes and culverts. also the clearing of the ditch that runs down to the pumping station. This is all very welcome.

We had thought that additional drains would be installed and indeed at one point traffic lights were set up, but then apart from the delivery of some large pipes, now resting under the birches, little more has happened.

However, we understand that a further round of work will start soon...….

Hughenden Valley Downpour 16th September 2017

On Saturday 16th September we saw a short - and no doubt very localised - downpour in Hughenden Valley. As is so often the case, Valley Road became awash and pavements were flooded, a danger to motorists and pedestrians alike.  

Debs Lemon produced a 5 minute video of the event and this will be made available to Transport for Bucks for analysis. Hopefully this will help them refine plans for improving the road drainage in the village hall area.  

The full video can be seen at: https: //

Follow Up To 18th July Storm

The road flooding of 18th July was reported to Transport for Bucks (thanks to Debs Lemon) which resulted in a visit by James to investigate. Apart from a single partially silted up inspection chamber, the road drains were essentially found to be in good order, and it was clear that the massive downpour simply overwhelmed the system.

An order has been raised to clear the gullies, really as a precautionary measure. It was mentioned that TFB are fully aware of the problems with this stretch of the road and that it may be the subject of a future capital scheme.

We had also raised an enquiry about the blockage of the pipe down by the pumping station. James inspected this on his visit but did not consider the weeds or fencing across the pipe as requiring attention.  

The Great Storm 18th July

I think we will all remember the night of Tuesday 18th July for it's belter of a stormy night including massive thunderstorms and heavy downpours. As far as we are concerned in the Valley, the really intense downpour seemed to last under an hour but it resulted in Valley Road becoming awash near the Village Hall. This was a huge danger to passing cars hitting a flooded road at speed.

During the course of this year, the Council have fulfilled their promises to clear drains and ditches; they have assured us that the drainage would cope with a heavy downpour and that Valley Road and houses would not flood. However, the night's storm resulted in what most of us residents had suspected - that a cloudburst would overwhelm the drains and flood the road and send water cascading down from the road, along pavements and into residents properties along Valley Road near the Village Hall.

Fortunately, the worst damage inflicted seems to have been the results of road water flooding garages, and we are not aware of any getting into houses. One or two of us will have flagged an issue with Transport for Bucks, but it seems unlikely that much will happen.
Perhaps a new action plan is needed before a prolonged storm floods houses.

A few grainy photos below don't really get across the extent of the problem.

Changes to TFB Contact and Reporting

Anyone wanting to report a problem to Transport for Bucks now has to call Transport for Bucks on 01296 382416 (9am - 5.30pm) or 01296 486630 (for out of hours emergency).

If wanting to email an issue, you can no longer use the TFB@BUCKSCC.GOV.UK email address. Instead, use the TFB contact form which is shown on the Advice page on this web site. Bear in mind that this form rather poorly only allows 80 characters to describe a problem plus only allows a single photo to be uploaded!

Spotted Recently in the Valley

Thames Water have been spotted peering into the sewers in the Valley during last week. We understand that they are conducting routine CCTV surveys to check on the health of the sewers. All looking good so far!


Blocked Culvert at the Pumping Station

Angus Idle forwarded us a mail from Jerry Morley late last week. Jerry had noticed that although the Council's recent work to clear the ditches had gone well, the culvert opposite the tunnel that comes under the road from Buildbase was effectively blocked.

Following receipt of Jerry's mail, a couple of us went down to the pumping station suitably armed with rakes, forks etc. After a bit of scraping around, we were able to see what Jerry was referring to, as you can see from the photo attached - we hadn't even appreciated there was a culvert hidden under the trees. The culvert is directly opposite the exit of the tunnel that comes under the road from Buildbase, and in fact the photo shown was taken by me from inside the tunnel.

If you look carefully at the picture you can see that there is a pipe there going into the pumping station grounds, it is somewhat obscured by the fence. The trees sit directly over the pipe but the roots etc don't appear to interfere with the pipe or prevent water to flow into it, but it was not easy to check. We scratched away the weeds that were in front of this pipe, so the area immediately in front of it is clear.

We recall from when the stream was last flowing in earnest that much of the water turns left when emerging from under the road and runs left along the front of the pumping station before then doing a right turn into the field. There are weeds along this stretch and now some rubble left by Affinity's recent work at the corner of the site  - see photo. 

It may be worth cutting the fence from around the entrance to the pipe but we would I guess need to get Affinity Water to do that. Certainly the weeds might best be cut. Meanwhile, any water will flow without a problem, all we need is some rain.

We have mailed Alex Back of Bucks CC to update him and to ask if he considers there to be an issue here that needs to be addressed by Bucks CC and/or Affinity.

Valley Road Ditches Cleared

We are glad to report that TFB have been along Valley Road this week clearing the open ditch between the village hall and the pumping station.

Doris Storm 23rd February

Sorry for this somewhat tardy posting! You may remember the Doris storm of 23rd February, which now seems so long ago. The practical effects in Hughenden Valley were not very great. However, we did see a fairly intense downpour lasting perhaps an hour which would normally have resulted in Valley Road outside the village hall becoming swamped. On this occasion it didn't which must be testament to the fact that Transport for Bucks maintenance is having a positive effect, so well done them.

In addition, Martin Hall took a short video during the same downpour which showed how well the drains were coping with the water coming down Combe Lane - you can see this video at this location: The drains in question are sited on the mini roundabout where Coombe Lane meets Valley Road. Again, this can only be down to timely work by TFB.

Thames Water and Bucks CC Meeting 17 January

On the 17th January the DIG met with Thames Water consultants eight2O and Bucks CC for us to receive an update on the TW Drainage Strategy for Little Marlow and Hughenden Valley. The strategy document initially issued last year deals with responses to sewer flooding, surface water flooding and groundwater flooding to properties.

The meeting heard that work continues to be done on the development and refinement of the plan. This includes:
- Survey and data collection from depth monitors, groundwater and river level data to enable better understanding of trigger levels when external water can enter the sewer network.
- Sewer Flooding Questionnaires have been collected from properties affected by flooding in the valley and the data entered to the TW Sewer Flooding History Database.
- CCTV footage of the sewers has been reviewed and repair work actions passed to TW Ops staff.
- Further development work on the hydrological modelling of the valley has taken place.

Future actions include further surveying, monitoring and modelling, which will lead to continued improvement to the strategy.

TW and Bucks CC will arrange a further meeting for May to discuss modelling, where HVDIG has had some concerns. Bucks CC will ask the Atkins consultants involved in the DEFRA project to attend this meeting.   

State of the Open Ditches in Valley Road

We have been aware of the state of the open ditched in Valley Road for several years, but the photos below surely demand that TFB take action to get these cleared out?


More Drains Work in Valley Road 1st Feb

Transport for Bucks have been spotted in Hughenden Valley again, this time sucking out the blocked road drains on the corner of Valley Road and Coombe Lane outside the village hall. We understand that in fact all of Coombe Lane has now been done as part of the current round of work and that the engineers will return next week to clean out the Valley Road drains.    

Valley Road Blocked Drains Update

The blocked drain in Valley Road opposite Herrisson House is no more! Well, we mean that it shouldn't be blocked any longer as Transport for Bucks visited on 11th January and believe that they have finally resolved the issue. The problem had presented itself as a blocked road drain on the west side of Valley Road opposite the village hall. This drain was meant to empty itself via a pipe running across the road and into a pipe in the enclosed ditch on the village hall side of the road. CCTV work carried out in 2016 suggested a collapsed pipe.

After the recent work, TFB have stated that the excavation showed that there was no pipe whatsoever linking the pipe from the drain into the ditch and that the pipe from the road drain fell 4-5 metres short of the ditch. This explains why the original jetting operation failed. TFB have now linked the road drain outlet pipe to the ditch pipes, so the whole thing should run freely.

Defra Project Follow Up Meeting

Following the 22nd November meeting with Bucks CC on the Defra project, a further meeting has been organised for 17th January at 7.00pm in the small village hall.

The purpose of this meeting is to put questions to Gareth Evans and Chris Matthias relating to the  hydrological modelling that forms part of the Defra project proposal.

Defra Project Meeting

On Tuesday 22nd November an HVDIG meeting was held with Bucks CC to look at possible options for flood prevention work in Hughenden Valley. This follows hydrological modelling of the area by Atkins, a leading consultancy in environmental risk management. At the meeting, Alex Back (Strategic Flood Management Officer at Bucks CC) provided us with a presentation of the results of the modelling together with the basis for an action plan. The work undertaken was a feasibility study funded by Defra and which could qualify for further funding to carry out flood alleviation measures.

The presentation showed areas in the valley which are at risk of flooding and the various things that might be implemented to ease the situation. These included new or altered/enlarged culverts and other measures to protect properties.

There followed a lively debate on the modelling and next steps for this project with concern expressed by HVDIG on its legal position being seen as having responsibility in the implementation of anti-flooding measures.

It was agreed that in order for the modelling to be understood better, Bucks CC and Atkins would meet soon with HVDIG. Meanwhile HVDIG would consider further the proposals contained in the presentation and inwardly discuss.   


Remedial Work on Valley Road Blocked Drains Delayed

We are informed that the planned drainage works in Valley Road have been delayed owing to an embargo on work leading up to the Christmas holiday period. This means no works are allowed on major routes or areas around shopping centres from 28th November 2016 through until the 9th January 2017.  

We presently await further advice on when the work will be scheduled for.

Latest on Valley Road Blocked Drains

David Carroll has informed us that the remedial work to the blocked drain in Valley Road near the village hall has been scheduled for Monday 5th December. In September investigations revealed that one of the road drains emptying into the ditch on the west side of Valley Road was penetrated by tree roots and had partially collapsed. 

It is not clear at this point if other drain clearance work is scheduled although we understand from the September work that other needed work had been identified.   

Update to Valley Road Flooding

Good News on Valley Road Road Drains!

Thanks to persistent pressure from Debs Lemon, Transport for Bucks arrived in the Valley on Wednesday 7th September to start the investigation and clearance of blocked road drains that have blighted the Village Hall end of the Valley for so long now.
As mentioned in the June blog, the drains have been unable to cope with large downpours for a number of years, resulting in the roads becoming awash and drives on the East side of Valley road being flooded. Previous attempts to get the drainage work done have stalled.

The work this week was aimed at checking out the blocked drains with camera and where possible clearing with high pressure hose. The worst drain, outside Herrisson House, proved to be completely blocked because of collapsed pipes and root ingress under the birch trees on the Village Hall side. The engineers have advised that they are aware of the problems we have been having and that the necesary remedial work will be scheduled.

We also understand from Debs that Coombe Lane also presents issues for the engineers, which they need to resolve. 

Valley Road Flooding 23 June 2016

Following a relatively short downpour on the afternoon of Thursday 23rd June, Valley Road flooded in the vicinity of the village hall for a short period. This resulted in the road becoming dangerously awash; water cascaded down onto and along the pavements and inevitably down a number of residents' drives.

Debs Lemon reported this to the
Strategic Flood Management Team, the result of which is that we understand Transport for Bucks will be conducting a drainage investigation at the end of July.

You can see video footage of the event on YouTube here:


Thames Water LM (Hughenden Valley) Drainage Strategy Document

The following mail has been received from Thames Water which confirms the publication of the TW Drainage Report for Hughenden Valley. This is an important document regarding dealing with Hughenden Valley's future flood risks; it results from much work carried out by Thames Water with considerable input from HVDIG.

The strategy document is available to download on the Documents page.

Dear Mr White

Further to my email dated 18 December 2015, I would like to update you, with the latest developments of the Little Marlow (Hughenden Valley) Drainage Strategy.

As you know, we’ve now published on our website our Stage 1 Drainage Report. Since that time Gareth Evans has presented you with our revised version following the HVDIG consultation, and I believe you were pleased with the updates, and happy with the final version.

Following the HVDIG meeting in March 2016, Gareth has carried out site visits with you and other members of the HVDIG. This has proven very useful in helping us to focus on the planned surveys going forward. You may be aware, that information from the sewer flooding questionnaires is crucial and allows us to capture information about the extent, nature and frequency of flooding in the area. This continues to help us understand the flooding mechanisms, and prioritise investment in the future alongside other equally important areas across our region.

I confirm, other surveys are planned in the area and we are also going through historic data to obtain the best information.

We will regularly consult with customers, and stakeholders, to update and republish our catchment drainage strategies as they develop throughout the 4-stage framework process

I’ll continue to update you on a 6 monthly basis, and will contact you again on 19 December 2016, with our progress. In the meantime, if I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0800 009 3666 from 9:30am – 2:30pm, Monday to Friday.

We’d love to hear about your experience,
please click here to tell us what we are doing well or what we can do better.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Sanders

Senior Case Manager - Executive Office

Friends of the Wye Event

Angus Idle has made us aware of an exciting day planned by the Revive the Wye Partnership. The Partnership is running an informative event at the Trinity United Reform Church, London Road, High Wycombe on Saturday 14th May 2016 from 10am to 2pm.

For those with an interest in the River Wye, why not go along to learn more about the Wye and see how you can help its future enhancement, while having fun and becoming a Friend of the Wye.

For more information go to: 

DIG Meeting held with Bucks CC/Atkins

This meeting was originally planned for 10th March, but was postponed to 23rd March in the Cabin. Rob Millington from Atkins provided us with the results from the modelling work they have carried out on the surface water flows through Hughenden Valley.

Rob presented a series of charts detailing predicted flows, groundwater emrgence points and possible effects from carrying out work such as enlarged pipeage in Boss Lane and water runoff storage in fields above the village. Whilst work on the modelling continues, the charts clearly demonstrated the
flooding risk areas in the village.

By the end of April Rob is due to complete a report to Bucks CC which will contain options for providing flood relief. Such options may include things like field barriers for water storage, curb raising, increasing culvert sizes etc and which could be built into a detailed plan for possible DEFRA funding. A further meeting is expected  to be held between Bucks CC and HVDIG at a later point to review progress. 

DIG Meeting held with Consultants on Drainage Strategy

This meeting on 8th March in the HV Cabin was held with Gareth Evans of eight2o, who are consultants to Thames Water. Gareth has responsibility for developing a hydrology model for Hughenden Valley to aid refinement of the Thames Water Drainage Strategy document, to which HVDIG has already provided information. It is hoped that suggestions/options for improvements can be built into the plan and used as  a basis for spending on the valley infrastructure if and when budgets allow.

This meeting gave the opportunity for Gareth to meet with the residents and obtain details from us of the local geology and our experiences during the flooding events of recent years. Gareth is allocated to us for a period of two years and expects to visit HVDIG on a quarterly basis. Since the meeting Gareth has returned to do a walk of the winterbourne section of the stream with members of the DIG.   

DIG Meeting with BCC/Atkins

This meeting is to discuss the results of modelling work on groundwater and surface water conditions in Hughenden Valley with Bucks County Council in relation to the Bucks CC/DEFRA project. It has now been confirmed for Thursday 10th March at 7pm at The Cabin (HV Coffee Shop). Please ensure you have confirmed attendance with Sarah Mustapha as space is restricted.

DIG Meeting with Consultants on Drainage Strategy

The meeting on the Drainage Strategy (see previous post) has been confirmed with Thames Water for Tuesday 8th March at 7pm in the Cabin (HV Coffee shop). Thames Water are represented by  Gareth Evans of Eight2o. Please ensure you have confirmed with Sarah Mustapha if attending as space is restricted.

Meeting for Residents with Consultants on Drainage Strategy Soon

Eight2o (an alliance of consultants and contractors working with Thames Water) are working on the Thames Water Drainage Strategy for Hughenden Valley and are looking to arrange a meeting to discuss how to best work with HVDIG and residents to draw upon local knowledge, to better target survey investigations and aid identification of cost effective actions with the potential to reduce the risk of flooding and loss of service. Watch this space for details of the meeting date

Bucks CC Drainage Maintenance

For some time now Bucks CC have planned to undertake maintenance in the village on the road drains and silted up ditches, and this was due to take place in February 2016. We understand that this is now delayed because badger activity has been reported in the ditches. This requires expert assessment before work can proceed.  

Bucks County Council/DEFRA Project

Bucks County Council has received funding to undertake a feasibility study for flood alleviation in four areas of the county (Bishopstone, Monks Risborough, Saunderton, Hughenden Valley), as part of the “Small Schemes Pathfinder” fund created by Defra. This funding pot was created by Defra in order to encourage “innovative” schemes that serve smaller, disparate communities to be packaged together, to make the appraisal process more efficient and make it  easier for them to enter the government capital investment programme. Bucks County Council’s bid was one out of 6 projects to be funded out of 23 applicants.

The innovative approaches Bucks County Council proposed are a combination of:

a) Upstream natural flood management with techniques for slowing down flows across farm or open land and storage of water using low bunds and scrapes.

b) Temporary defences to attenuate water during a flood and pumping water away to less flood risk areas in situations. To be used in areas where more permanent schemes may not be financially viable.

c) Provide frontline flood response resources and equipment at the Parish and Town Council level by developing a realistic and site-specific assessment of need as well as for existing Flood Action Groups.

The idea is that once the feasibility projects are complete, local authorities will report on their findings and will then have the opportunity to apply for funding from the Government’s £2.3bn six year flood defence programme. The results from these trials will be shared with other local authorities and allow them to use similar approaches when developing schemes which benefit small communities.

HVDIG attended a meeting with Bucks CC and their appointed consultants Atkins in December 2015. Atkins has been commissioned to produce a hydrological model of the area. We expressed interest in any simulations from the model regarding the Hughenden Stream course along Boss Lane with the issues there and also on surface water from flash flood/storm events at Valley Road/Coombe Lane, Trees Road, Orchard Close, The Harrow and the Warrendene Road crossroads.

Bucks CC hope to have results of the modelling work commissioned from Atkins on the groundwater/surface water conditions in the Hughenden Valley catchment area ready for presentation to an HVDIG meeting in mid-February 2016 where potential future actions for Hughenden Valley, that Bucks CC could seek DEFRA funding for, can be discussed. We can also discuss how to take forward constructing a Flood Resilience Plan for Hughenden Valley and how it might fit with overall Resilience Planning of Hughenden Parish Council.

Bucks CC Select Committee Enquiry into Flooding in Buckinghamshire

On the 8th September 2015 HVDIG presented evidence to the Bucks County Council Select Committee Enquiry into Flooding in Buckinghamshire on the experiences of residents in Hughenden Valley in 2014 and the responses of the various Agencies involved. A copy of the written evidence submitted by HVDIG can be seen in the document titled 'The Whites BCC Select Comitte Flooding' on the Documents page.

In December 2015 a report and recommendations from this Committee were presented to Bucks County Council Cabinet.

HVDIG Second Agencies Meeting – June 2015

On 16th June HVDIG held its second Agencies Meeting with representatives from Thames Water, Bucks County Council and the Environment Agency to monitor progress on actions to deal with any future events similar to those experienced in 2001 and 2014.

Thames Water have carried out a lot of work on their network in Hughenden Valley, carrying out CCTV work, cleaning, lining and installing monitors in key places to get data on the water going through their network. They have set up a special reference number for Hughenden Valley to report a future event on their emergency phone line and have two pumps with sewage treatment systems at the Little Marlow depot allocated for Hughenden Valley to pump at a future event with their network set up for them to be quickly implemented – one system will be outside the Surgery in Valley Road and the other in Boss Lane and they will pump the treated water into the Hughenden Stream. All of this is being managed and documented in Thames Water’s “Hughenden Valley Drainage Strategy” that will be submitted to the Environment Agency. The draft of Stage 1: Initialise/Prepare was issued in November 2015 to Key Stakeholders for comment.

The mobile treatment works can be in place within days. Thames Water will use the information from the Environment Agency groundwater monitoring and the depth monitors in the sewer network to get an early warning of a likely event where the mobile treatment works may need to be “primed” – which takes two weeks - and deployed. They can still be effective if not fully primed in terms of screening the flow but may not be up to full biological treatment capacity. The mobile plant treatment won’t be as good as a full sewage processing works but will reduce bacteria by an estimated 40% and add oxygen. They rely on the flow to get the media working and there will be a filter which will have checks twice a day.

In October 2014 the Environment Agency issued a formal warning to Thames Water for the sewer discharges and over pumping into the Hughenden stream between 26 February and 05 June 2014.  This activity was a contravention of Regulation 12 and 38 of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, causing polluting matter – sewage - to enter the Hughenden Stream.

Bucks County Council have allocated budget and are due to carry out maintenance work on their infrastructure in Hughenden Valley in February 2016. A potential blockage of one of the culverted pipes under Valley Road that flows into the drainage ditch forming part of the Hughenden Stream on the west side of Valley Road (in front of the Village Hall) needs CCTV investigation and the open section of the ditch needs to be dug out where silt is currently partially blocking the pipes that connect to it.  The culverted section of the Hughenden Stream under Boss Lane also needs work done by Bucks County Council to make sure it is clear.

Introduction to the HVDIG Blog

In this introductory post, I want to outline the background to the HVDIG’s formation and its achievements since its inception a little over a year ago.

The sewage flooding in early 2014 affected residents in Valley Road between the Surgery and Coombe Lane. At the time, the initial response from Thames Water was poor and the help offered was much less than when similar flooding happened in 2000, specifically only an offer to clean up after the flooding had subsided.

When the problems were happening, like-minded residents got together to swap understanding and stories. This progressed to sharing resources and assisting each other with small working parties to shift sand bags and provide other help. We also coordinated with letters, emails and telephone calls to ensure that pressure was maintained on Thames Water to do their duty.

David White of Leaside took a lead role in coordinating action and was instrumental in bringing the group to life. During the early stages, much outside help was received and we want to particularly thank David Lidington MP, Dave Carroll - Bucks County Councillor, John Gladwin - Chiltern District Councillor and Allen Beechey - Chiltern Chalkstreams Officer. We also need to thank the HV Residents Association and others in the valley for their support.

So what has been achieved through the auspices of the HVDIG since last summer?

  • Worked with Agencies to drive actions on:
  • Clearance of blockages, rootballs in sewer network
  • Camera surveys to check sewage piping infrastructure in key areas
  • Checking of and repairs to leaking inspection pits
  • Sealing of sewer lids to prevent surface water ingress to sewage system
  • Introduction of pumping systems by Surgery and in Boss Lane to pump into the Hughenden Stream in order to reduce pressure in the sewage system
  • Checking and clearance of road drains/gullies and open ditches to reduce road flooding during downpours  
  • All Agency meetings have been introduced to formalise the relationships and communication between the affected parties.

What of the future?

Undoubtedly, the establishment of regular meetings with the Agencies, albeit only once or twice a year, has led to much improved relationships and a better understanding of how to deal with the Valley’s flooding issues.

The key result of all this activity is that Hughenden Valley is now recognised as an area at risk and in need of special support when floods threaten. The Agencies have put in place systems to ensure that they respond effectively when Hughenden Valley residents raise the alert.

Most satisfying of all is the decision taken by Thames Water to place on standby a mini sewage treatment plant, which is reserved for Hughenden Valley’s use. This system will be installed in the Valley probably near the Surgery if and when the sewage reaches an overload point again. 

What is important is that residents continue to be vigilant and to alert the authorities when we see or experience issues that require action. Please let us at the DIG know at the same time so we can work with you and also disseminate the news using the blog, emails etc.

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