Views are being sought on an innovative new project in Brighton’s Wild Park which will reduce pollution and enhance the environment for people and nature.
The Aquifer Partnership (TAP) has won £1.7 million to create a 'Rainscape' in a small area of the park, improving the area with an attractive natural landscape.
Designed around several shallow planted basins, known as ‘rainscapes’ which can hold water during heavy rainfall, the project will help to reduce pollution and improve the area for people and nature.
The new scheme is designed to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination by introducing a new system to prevent polluted highway runoff going directly into the underlying groundwater through the soakaways.
It will improve the layout and function of the existing highway drainage and detention pond next to The Keep, which forms the first element of an innovative treatment train, linked to new wetland elements in Wild Park.
The new system will slow down the water and hold it closer to the surface – in the park – copying natural processes. Pollution is broken down through a variety of processes, helped by time, plants, microbes in the soil and sunlight, before cleaner water is filtered into the aquifer.
Have your say
Experts from TAP have carried out background work to check out the technical feasibility of the scheme and are now are keen to make contact, seek feedback and involve local people as they start to move forward into the design stage.
Community ‘drop in’ events are being set up for residents and other interested parties to hear more about the plans, and feedback their comments. The first two will be held on:
- Wednesday 30 March 2022, any time between 10.30 and 12.30 at St George’s Market, Newick Road
- Wednesday 18 May 2022, any time between:
- 11am and 1.30pm at New Larchwood, Waldron Avenue, Brighton
- 2pm and 7.30pm at Moulsecoomb Hall, Lewes Road, Brighton
Further dates in March, April and May will be published on the TAP website
Susie Howells of The Aquifer Partnership said: “Rainscapes - sustainable drainage or SuDS - have many benefits in both urban and rural settings.
"They slow the flow of water when there is heavy rain, which can help prevent or reduce flooding. They filter dirty surface water from the roads, which cuts the amount of pollution getting into important groundwater resources.
"They provide valuable habitats for nature, with a beautiful diversity of planting and wildflowers that can support many types of species, as well as creating a wonderful area of green space – so they are great for people and nature.
“We are keen to support local people in setting up a ‘Friends of Wild Park’ for people to get more involved in the scheme as it progresses.”
Chair of The Aquifer Partnership, Councillor Martin Osborne added: "It is essential that we do whatever we can to prevent pollution into the aquifer, and the Wild Park Rainscape illustrates how this can be achieved effectively, while enhancing the surrounding landscape.
"I look forward to seeing this important project progress and would encourage local residents to drop into the sessions to find out how they can get involved.”
Find out more
If you want to stay up to date, please email the TAP team at WildPark@southdowns.gov.uk or follow The Aquifer Partnership on Facebook or @AquiferPartners on Twitter.
The Aquifer Partnership (TAP), brings together the South Downs National Park Authority, The Environment Agency, Southern Water, Brighton & Hove City Council, The Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere (The Living Coast) and other partners to work together to protect our aquifer - the source of our drinking water in the city.
The project is funded by the National Highways from its Environment and Wellbeing Fund (£1.7 million) and is investment in the area that would otherwise have gone elsewhere. Lead designers are Robert Bray Associates.