MORE than 300,000 homes across the UK are better protected from the effects of climate change compared with 2015 – including some 400 in Cheshire West.
This was announced by the Environment Agency today as it revealed it had exceeded its target in delivering the government’s £2.6 billion investment in flood and coastal defence schemes over the last six years.
The agency and partners have completed more than 700 projects to better protect more than 300,000 homes, nearly 600,000 acres of agricultural land, thousands of businesses and major pieces of infrastructure.
Frodsham was the subject of a flood alert earlier this year because of the proximity of the River Weaver. But it escaped any serious problems.
Northwich was not so fortunate and suffered serious flooding – as it had done in 2019, 2012, 2000 and even as far back as 1946.
This has caused distress and financial impact for residents as well as costing millions of pounds worth of damage to homes and businesses. Some care home residents were temporarily given shelter in Frodsham.
But work carried out has reduced the risk to almost 400 homes and businesses and three development sites.
The scheme itself is made up of 1.7km of flood defences using a combination of flood walls and embankments, along the banks of the River Dane and River Weaver. In addition to fixed flood defences, the scheme will also use demountable defences and flood gates across key footpaths and highways.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s director of Environment and Communities, Maria Byrne, said:”We are committed to safeguarding our communities against the risk of future flooding incidents. The work we have undertaken with the Environment Agency represents good progress but as we have seen from the events in our borough from earlier this year, there is clearly more to be done.
“We have recently published a report into the flooding in our borough in 2019, which outlines a set of recommendations for the council and other agencies to follow to help safeguard our borough from flooding. We are now in the process of implementing these recommendations. The council has also set up a Flood Risk Action Group which will produce a programme of initiatives to help our borough recover from the flooding impacts of Storm Christoph and improve flood risk management and resilience.”
The Environment Agency’s work, which has continued through lockdown with Covid-secure working arrangements, will not only help to save the economy more than £28 billion in avoided damages over the lifetime of defence assets, but also provide reassurance and peace of mind for communities and encourage economic growth.
Successful delivery of the programme comes ahead of the start of the record £5.2 billion investment in 2,000 new flood and coastal defences between 2021 and 2027.
Ollie Hope area flood and coastal risk manager for the Environment Agency in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire said: “We have made great progress in the last six years to reduce flood risk across Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire and this milestone of 300,000 homes better protected shows how far we’ve come.
“ In excess of £115 million has been invested in flood defences across Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire and we have seen the completion of major schemes such as, Warrington and Northwich, all of which are helping to bring peace of mind to communities, as well as investment and opportunities.
“In addition to building new defences, we are also slowing the flow of flood water with schemes such as Blackbrook in St Helens leading the way. We look forward to using the next six years of investment in our flood and coastal defences to ‘build back better’ by making properties more resilient to flooding, and ‘build back greener’ by working with nature to make us more resilient to climate change.”