Forestry England is today sharing results and insights from the Cannop Ponds face-to-face and online public engagement sessions held in the spring.
The feedback from all 736 responses has added value to the knowledge Forestry England has and is still gathering. This information will be used to decide which of the four options is best for the long-term benefit of Cannop valley. The options are:
Spillway and Dam Upgrade
Storm Water Storage
Cascade of Ponds
Re-naturalising Cannop Brook
There must be no worsening and preferably an improvement to the storm water storage, to reduce flood risk in the valley. There should be no loss of biodiversity and ideally a net gain in biodiversity. The area needs to maintain its sense of place so that there is a comfortable fit with the cultural landscape of the Forest of Dean. The project must represent value for money. This does not necessarily mean the cheapest option, but one that balances the benefits with costs.
Kevin Stannard, Deputy Surveyor for Forestry England, explained:
“Thank you to everyone that came to our public events or responded online. We have seen a strong passion for Cannop Ponds and people have given us their concerns and ideas for the site’s future.
“We are being open about the information we are gathering to help us choose the best option from the four available, so we have made the analysis available to everyone on our website.
“We still have more information to collect on flood modelling, ecology and the recent ground investigations before making a choice, so we won’t be debating these specific results in public at the moment. But we have already made some commitments based on the feedback.”
Forestry England has committed to:
Keep working to keep communities safe now from a dam failure by maintaining the existing structures and managing water levels.
Keep the community informed of the scheme’s progress and engaging the community again to test and improve the final option.
Use local stone where possible to improve the look of the scheme. Local stone is unlikely to be able to replace reinforced concrete as the main material for strengthening the dam strengthening or replacing the spillway.
Improve access to the ponds and valley for everyone in line with our commitments in the Our Shared Forest land management plan.
Provide interpretation appropriate to the site and each option to increase understanding of the history and wildlife of the valley.
Continue to implement works to moderate storm water flows in the Forest, slowing flows and holding up water in the Forest for longer, to mitigate against extreme rainfall and prolonged droughts.
In total, 736 responses were collected from Forestry England’s public engagement sessions held face-to-face and online in the spring. This has provided a more detailed picture of what people want, and don’t want from the Cannop Ponds project. It has also highlighted people’s concerns, and Forestry England has considered how these might be addressed for each of the options available.
Of those responses, 61% said they would prefer option one, which was to keep the two reservoirs made safe with new spillways and strengthened dam structures. 11% of responses ranked option one as being their second, third or fourth preference, with 28% recording no first preference. Whilst this option was the most supported, there were also many observations on how it could be improved, and concerns about how it might be implemented.
Detailed responses were given against all four options, and there were common themes including:
concern for the impact the changing climate will have on flood risk in the local area.
concerns about the impact of engineering works on the much-loved wildlife of Cannop Ponds.
opportunities to improve access to the area and use local stone.
All of the feedback has been recorded and discussed by the project team. This feedback, along with all of the other data collected from ongoing surveys and studies of the site, will help to inform the decision of which is the best option for the future of Cannop Ponds.
The report into the public engagement results can be found on our website here.
The display boards from the public engagement events which contain information on the four potential options being considered can be found online here.