This is a large-scale scheme running for 27km along the River Trent as it meanders through Nottingham. The scheme runs through countryside, suburbia, parks, industrial areas and SSSI’s each raising their own challenges and each requiring a careful and considered set of proposals suitable for the individual location.

Even though Nottingham had not flooded since the 1960’s it was still deemed to be at considerable risk from the River Trent and a £50 million scheme was designed to alleviate this risk. It was completed in 2013 after four years of construction which required major infrastructure works to be successfully integrated into a variety of sensitive locations.

Helping to understand the character and challenges of 27km of varied urban and rural character was the first major challenge faced by the landscape team. They assisted the environmental specialists in preparing the Environmental Statement identifying in landscape, visual and land use terms what was important about an area, why it was important and how best to conserve it or improve its characteristic through the works.

The broadest definition of landscape was used in this sense with the landscape team considering not only matters of amenity and aesthetic but also heritage and cultural associations, access and circulation, ecology and habitat creation and recreation on and adjacent to the river. In effect an Environmental Masterplan was developed that incorporated the flood alleviation proposals.

Highlights of the scheme included:

  • Re-modelling of the Grade 1 Listed Nottingham War Memorial to not only include flood walls but also improved access for acts of remembrance;
  • Creation of over 10 Hectares of compensatory Bio-diversity Action Plan (BAP) Habitat, primarily reedbeds, at Attenborough Site of Special Scientific Interest; and
  • Reformation of a village green.

The landscape proposals were integral in reaching agreement with Local Planning Authorities and consenting bodies such as Natural England, who had expressed concerns regarding the potential broad scale environmental effects of the scheme.

Consultation and ongoing liaison through the design and constructions stages were key to the success of initially understanding the concerns of stakeholders large and small and then addressing them in a thorough way on site.

An Environmental Board was formed to bring all critical environmental parties together to agree on mitigation and enhancement strategies for the different parts of the scheme. The Principal Landscape Architect sat on this Board and their team was the prime source of vision and strategy for what form environmental mitigation and enhancement works should take.

A mid-tier of communication took place with technical consultees with whom the landscape team exchanged information and built tacit support for the detailed form of the proposals.

A resident landscape architect played an important role working closely with the operators of the excavators and piling rigs, resolving site difficulties, liaising successfully with public utilities and handling design changes on site when stakeholders changed their mind or became concerned at the scale of the works. The resident landscape architect was also tasked with liaising with local residents and landowners concerned about the effects of the scheme on their property.

The Nottingham scheme can be described as ‘the right proposals for the right place’. Rather than imposing a ‘one style fits all’ solution the landscape team ensured that the most appropriate design proposals were developed to suit the actual setting they were located within.

Where environmental effects could not be avoided then the resulting mitigation was designed to ensure as much benefit to people and wildlife as possible. At certain locations, nature conservation rightfully took the lead, such as the creation of extensive BAP habitat, whilst in other areas heritage and public access issues dominated.

Flood banks were not just viewed as artificial structures but also new footpath and cycleway routes. Excavation areas were not just restored to their previous condition but rather improved to offer a wider range of habitats and local character was not only preserved but where possible improved.

This is an example of Green Infrastructure where a potentially intrusive and adverse piece of engineering infrastructure is turned to the benefit of local people and wildlife through creative and inclusive design.

Approximate Map Location


  1. Do you have any knowledge of the timeline of the scheme? I know it started in 2009 and completed in colwick in 2012 however I would like to know at what period of time each construction was made

  2. The 2 Meadows Reaches were delayed and diverted by, in the Words of the E.A.’s 2008 Scoping Report, “the failed Ozone Project”. Work began in 2011 and the official opening was in 2012. . Sadly the alignment of these 2 Reaches greatly impacted every Listed Building and Garden along the length this historic Breathing Space. Flood walls built into the road reduce the breadth, symmetry and grandeur of the 36ft wide Carriage Drive. The new defences do not protect the Triumphal Archway from the predicted higher flood levels. This convoluted and destructive FAS Alignment built a Secondary Embankment alongside Victoria Embankment, involving 100,000 of tonnes of impermeable clays. Meandering over the Public Recreation Ground it took out 6 well used grass football pitches, 8 healthy 25 year old Red Oaks, leaving a raised car park in their place. There was, in their words, a further “Reduction of Public Recreational Land” as the secondary embankment crossed the fields, dividing off the Children’s Play Area. … I could go on to describe where another Flood Wall clad in red brick and built into the Carriage Drive causes a blind spot as cars approach the Play Area and a girls was hit be a car the first week after the Opening. Over 30 vehicles have collided with the other end of the wall and children walk along it right above the traffic. Mind blowing of all is that this 1:100 year flood defence was diverted onto this alignment by, 1. An annual 3 day Fairground. 2. A Axial line drawn through the Grade II Suspension Bridge to the failed Ozone Project’s unviable 67m high Wind Turbine. Planning conditions state that it would have to be switched off an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset for 7 months of the year because of the Bat activity along the river and Tree lined boulevard. It is unbelievable how the EA were persuaded by a certain few men to take this preposterous alignment when the alternative – extending the existing flood wall and raising it be 35cm, was considered by them to be the most economic (1/3rd of the cost) low impact (simple linear wall following the meander of the River) and most robust (no need for ‘8’ HIGH RESIDUAL RISK flood gates, which all need regular checks and have all had to be dramatically improved in 2018 as they were all leaking). So in answer to Lauren Moore, they are still at this moment APRIL 2018 working on the defences:

  3. Apologies. Planning Conditions for the Wind Turbine state it has to be switched off an hour before sunset until an hour after sunrise for 7 months of the year. Planning approval lapsed about 3 years ago but the company which proposed it still want it up !


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