The Newt Ditch Marlow Flood Alleviation Scheme

The Newt Ditch Marlow Flood Alleviation Scheme aims to reduce flood risk to over 100 residential and non-residential properties in this flood prone area around the Newt Ditch in eastern Marlow.

We're committed to managing flood risk and this is one of the various projects aimed at managing flood risk across the county.


Marlow has a history of flooding and roads prone to flooding include:

  • Dedmere Road
  • The Croft
  • Quarrydale Drive
  • Fieldhouse Lane

A primary cause of flooding is the lack of capacity in the culverts that drain into the Newt Ditch. A culvert is a structure (a pipe or channel) which allows water to flow under a road, pathway or similar.

Our scheme is focused around the culvert under Dedmere Road from Fieldhouse Way through to the open channel section either side of the A404.

We've carried out video camera surveys of the current culverted drainage network which runs under Dedmere Road, Quarrydale Drive and the footpath leading to the A404.

Surveys show this existing culvert is blocked in several places. The cause of the blockages include silt and debris build up, in growing tree roots and intrusion by utility services pipes.

The project team is currently working on developing the detailed design for the project and conducting flood risk modelling assessments. Once complete, we will contact stakeholders and the public ahead of submitting a planning application in the first half of 2024, with the intention of construction starting in 2025.

The project is being delivered by Buckinghamshire Council, with Jacobs undertaking the technical assessments and detailed design.

Flooding to Fieldhouse Lane and surrounding area

We are aware of recent incidents of flooding in and around Fieldhouse Lane.

Our operations team have been supporting the local community impacted by the flooding by:

  • clearing out the soakaways in the area around Fieldhouse Lane
  • reviewing opportunities for additional improvements, including installing a new soakaway close to Fieldhouse Lane

If you've been flooded during this recent event, we would like to understand what happened and how you were affected. This will help us finalise our plans to reduce flood risk in the area.

Complete our flood questionnaire

Project update: November 2023


We've prioritised securing funding for the next stage of the project and our business case has been approved by the Environment Agency.


We have also been progressing with the detailed design for the scheme, and we have been undertaking a range of surveys to help us improve our understanding of the scheme area.

These surveys include carrying out utility surveys in the project area and undertaking an ecological walkover survey. There are also ground investigation surveys planned in the near future.

Flood risk assessment (FRA)

To inform the FRA, we have also recently conducted topographical surveys for the River Thames towards Bourne End. The FRA will help us to understand the downstream flood risk and any potential impacts of the scheme.

Fieldhouse Lane

Buckinghamshire Highways are continuing to monitor the situation and their advice is to respond using the Bucks emergency number:

Call the National Flood Forum (01296 403055) for help with:

  • insurance
  • setting up flood groups
  • advice on individual Property Flood Resilience measures

Tree removal and re-planting

Through the detailed design we are working to ensure that as few trees as possible are affected by the scheme. The design development work also includes assessing the extent and location of possible screening and re-planting of trees.

Where there’s a requirement to re-plant, Jacobs will adhere to our tree planting requirements and where possible will minimise tree removal.

We will have more information on re-planting, screening and impacted trees in our planning application once we have finished the detailed design works. These are due to be submitted in the first half of 2024.

Maintenance arrangements

We’re concerned around the maintenance of the culvert and proposed open channel on the land which is not registered. Currently, there are no funds for the maintenance of this however we’re discussing this internally.

For the parts which are under the responsibility of the individual owners (on the banks), the current assumption is that it would continue to be their responsibility to maintain the culvert and proposed open ditch.

We will have a clearer understanding of the situation as the project develops.

View more about Riparian landowners responsibilities for maintenance of Ordinary Watercourses.

Construction works

At this current stage, we are developing the detailed design of the project. This means we are not in a position to know the details of the construction arrangements.

We are due to submit our planning application in the first half of 2024, and following this we will have more information available on the construction of the project.

If the planning application is successful, it is intended that construction will start in 2025.

We will contact everyone affected to give sufficient notice.

Downstream flood risk

We are still investigating the downstream flood risk and are undertaking extensive surveys and extra modelling to develop the FRA.

This includes recent topographic surveys towards Bourne End.

We will be able to provide feedback of our findings to residents when complete, expected early 2024.

The planning requirement is that there is no increase to downstream flood risk because of the project, this extra work is to provide the evidence base to support this.

The FRA will be included in the planning application – which will be publicly available – expected to be submitted first half of 2024.

Project update: December 2022

Work undertaken over the last 6 months

The project team have continued to work hard in developing a viable flood alleviation scheme for East Marlow.

Over the last 6 months our work has focused on:

  • the completion of the A404 culvert clearance works and survey work of the oil separator, pipes and manholes
  • the completion of topographical surveys of extended project area east of the A404
  • updates to the hydraulic modelling
  • the production of an updated economic appraisal
  • the development of outline design drawings
  • carrying out of additional environment surveys, including ground-based bat roost assessment, bat activity surveys, badger walkover survey, and a preliminary ecological appraisal

Revisions to the scheme

Due to the current economic climate and the increasing costs of materials and labour, we carried out an updated economic appraisal of the scheme's scope.

The appraisal found that we would not be able to secure sufficient government funding to continue with the original scope.

We've now developed a revised scheme. The cost is significantly lower and gives the project the best opportunity to secure government funding.

The properties that would have benefited from the original scheme will continue to benefit from a reduction in flood risk under the revised scheme, as flood volume levels will be reduced across the area.

Flood management project

The key elements of the revised scheme are:

Dedmere Road

We will:

  • divert utility services that cross through within the pipeline, including making localised repairs to the pipe where necessary
  • construct a new manhole at the junction of Dedmere Road and Newtown Road
  • carry out jetting work to clear the existing pipe

Quarrydale Drive

We will:

  • carry out jetting work to clear existing pipe
  • replace a short section of pipe to tie in with the new manhole at the Dedmere Road and Newtown Road junction

The Acre

We will:

  • replace the pipe running from the end of Quarrydale Drive to The Acre and through the alleyway behind - the new pipe will be laid under the public footpath
  • provide new manholes to improve maintenance access to the pipe, including where the pipe crosses The Acre

Oil interceptor

We will remove the existing oil interceptor arrangement, which was discovered at the end of Savill Way/Gunthorpe Road.

An alternative treatment of pollutants will be provided by designing the open channel in this area to function as a swale.

Open channel

We will:

  • open out the existing pipeline east of the alleyway behind The Acre and replace this with an open channel
  • modify the open channel to provide pollution control. This may involve particular planting or riverbed material
  • construct retaining walls on the north bank, due to space constraints. We currently plan to use vegetated bagwork
Map showing the location of works on Quarrydale Drive, The Acre and Dedmere Road, as well as the open channel section

Map showing the location of works on Quarrydale Drive, The Acre and Dedmere Road

Existing ditch upstream of A404

The existing ditch will be cleared, with alterations to the bank profiles and landscaping works.

A404 culvert

No modifications are proposed to the existing A404 culvert.

East of A404

We will clear the Newt Ditch as far as the siphon structure, which is part of the drainage pond serving Globe Business Park. This will provide a discharge for water in the A404 culvert and upstream.

We will also clear debris the pipes of the siphon.

Elements that we've had to remove from the scope due to their impact on costs are:

  • works to replace or pass flow beneath the siphon
  • a new widened footpath (reinstatement with a gravel surface is now proposed)
  • new lighting to footpaths

There may be opportunities to secure funding for these improvements through other routes outside of the flood alleviation project.

Illustrated map showing the location of the Newt Ditch, drainage pond and siphon structure

Map of Newt Ditch, drainage pond and siphon structure

Addressing downstream flood risk

We've been working with the Environment Agency (EA) to assess the flood risk of flows from the Newt Ditch moving east beyond the A404, downstream of the immediate project works area.

We have agreed with the EA to carry out a detailed flood risk modelling assessment. This will improve our understanding of how the water moves from the east of the A404 to the River Thames.

We expect this assessment to take around 9 months due to:

  • the necessity for topographical surveys over 3km, stretching to the River Thames at Bourne End
  • the complexity of the modelling work being undertaken

From January 2023 we will engage with landowners east of the A404 on the surveys we need to undertake along the watercourse down to the River Thames in Bourne End.

Next steps

To secure government funding we plan to submit an updated business case report in March 2023.

We're currently working on detailed design alongside a flood risk modelling assessment.

Once the flood risk modelling assessment is complete, we will engage with stakeholders ahead of planning submission. We expect this to take place in autumn 2023.

We will submit a planning application to Buckinghamshire Council at the end of 2023. This aims to ensure we have planning consent obtained by spring 2024.

We expect construction to start in early 2025 and to complete the work later that year.


If you have any questions or you need a printed copy of the flood questionnaire, email us at [email protected]