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Ouse Valley Catchment Project with Matthew Bird
Matthew spoke at the Lewes Greens AGM, to an audience in the hall and online, about the communities vulnerable to flooding along the Ouse and the creation of an illustrated ‘fly by’ from the coast to Lewes showing the extent of potential flooding which became the inspiration of projects that have developed since.
The desire has been to come up with practical ways to do something to address the many problems that have been identified. It has taken several years to bring many disparate groups together. Eventually ten key partners came together including the South Downs National Park, Greenhaven, Ovesco, Transition Lewes, Sussex Community and Sussex Wildlife Trust along with 60 or more organisations.
In the first instance £150,000 of development money was secured to run a year of events which engaged with 110 groups from Barcombe to Newhaven, Peacehaven to Seaford.
More recently £2.5m has been awarded, one of only 16 projects in the country to be selected, which will seek to develop climate resilience, and knowledge of nature and skills, nature based responses to flooding by creating leaky dams and scrapes to hold water.
There are also a number of specific projects such as: the Cockshut alignment scheme, community scheme on the Neville, the zero carbon Barcombe scheme and climate hubs – a charter of ‘rights of the river’; working with the Ouse and Adur River Trust and Love Our Ouse to promote a passion for our rivers and One Planet Living – a framework for measuring sustainability.