Safety & Assurance Bulletin September 2022

Droughts, Floods and Diffuse Pollution

Following the driest July in over 20 years, the Met Office are warning of dangerous floods across the country

A couple of years ago John Gorman, forestry lead for SEPA, wrote a piece on the importance of getting planning right for diffuse pollution. “A stitch in time saves nine” was his opening comment.

This comes to mind now following the driest July in over 20 years in the UK, with drought conditions across many parts of England.

We now have warnings from the Met Office of dangerous floods across the country. The drought conditions will naturally cause more surface run off once we do get the urgently needed rainfall.

This of course will mean that diffuse pollution risks are higher and we must make sure that we are planning for this on all sites.

Please take time to think about the impact of heavy rainfall on your sites, particularly sites with an increased risk due to the presence of steep slopes or watercourses. Have we got sufficient control measures in place? When we do experience incidents these are often a result of existing control measures such as sumps being overwhelmed.


Log Bridges
Are these well thatched and maintained?

Safety & Assurance Bulletin September 2022

Brash Mats
Are these dry and clean with sufficient brash thatching? Is any repair needed?

Safety & Assurance Bulletin September 2022

Silt Trap/Dams
Are these sufficient to capture and filtrate potential runoff from site?

Safety & Assurance Bulletin September 2022

A stitch in time truly does save nine, the consequences of getting this wrong when the rainfall does come are:

  • Pollution of our water environment
  • Large fines or compensation claims
  • Work stopped and associated time and machinery costs
  • Huge loss of reputation for all parties involved.

Make sure those sites at risk of run off are prepared and that existing control measures are checked to ensure that they remain sufficient for increased run off following this exceptional dry period.
Forestry & Water Scotland Know the Rules version 2 has useful guidance for England Scotland and Wales and copies of this are available to download from our Contractor Portal found on our website (here).