[T]wo years on from Storm Desmond, which saw 5,200 properties flooded across Cumbria and Lancashire, Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey will visit Carlisle and confirm plans for new flood defences are on track.
The Minister will visit the revived Botcherby community centre to see how far the community has come since Storm Desmond and will meet with local residents who felt the full force of the floods, to hear about their experiences and needs.
The Minister will also discuss plans for new local flood defences with Cumbria and Carlisle councils. £24.9 million has been committed to reduce flood risk to 1,667 properties in Carlisle and work is due to start next year.
Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “The devastating flood Cumbria faced flooding two years ago and that is why it’s important to me to visit this area in particular and hear the community’s stories first hand.
“Better protecting Cumbria from flooding continues to be a key priority and Carlisle’s new £24 million flood defence schemes will be the latest example of work taking place across the county.
“This scheme is one of many new defences planned for Cumbria – we are investing £72 million to better protect 4,300 homes and businesses by 2021.”
Since Storm Desmond, flood schemes in Appleby, Keswick, Ulverston and Threlkeld have been completed and £1 million spent maintaining existing defences including 50km of walls and embankments across the county.
Options for Carlisle’s new flood scheme are currently being consulted on and the project will be completed within four years.
The Environment Agency is leading ongoing work across Cumbria in collaboration with local council and community flood groups.
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency is working hard to protect people in Cumbria from flooding. We understand the impact that flooding has had on people here and are working hard to build new defences to better protect 4,300 homes with the government’s £72 million investment. Since December 2015, we’ve completed new defences in Ulverston and Glenridding. New schemes in Kendal, Appleby, Egremont and Carlisle are progressing well as we work with communities to finalise the best options before construction work can begin.
“We are better prepared for flooding than ever before, with extra equipment, better technology and 6,500 trained staff ready to act. We have also extended our flood warning service in Cumbria so more people receive vital early warnings.”
Prior to her visit to Carlisle, Minister Coffey will visit Lowther Estate to meet the owner and plant one of the 213,000 trees that be put into the ground over 170 hectares of the estate this winter.
Thanks to government funding, the recently-approved large-scale tree planting scheme will be one of the most productive woodland creation sites in England for more than 25 years.
The project is being funded through the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant scheme, which opens again for new applications on Tuesday 2 January 2018.