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Permission sought for plans to reduce flooding and improve wildlife in the Ullswater Valley

Goldrill Beck and flooded valley bottom. Credit John Malley

APPROVAL is being sought for an ambitious plan to reduce the impacts of flooding and promote wildlife in the Ullswater Valley.

Estimated to cost around £350,000, the initiative is being led by the National Trust working with their tenant farmers, the wider community and with the Eden Catchment Management Group, the Environment Agency, Natural England and Cumbria County Council.

The plan is to put the bends back into Goldrill Beck, where it currently follows the A592 between Cow Bridge and Menneting Bridge. This means the river will meander away from the road, allowing it to spill onto surrounding land belonging to Howe Green and Beckstones farms during periods of high rainfall. Using farmland to store flood water will help to keep the road open, one of the few access routes in and out of the valley, and alleviate flooding further downstream. It will also create new opportunities for nature to flourish.

As Rebecca Powell, Project Manager for the National Trust explained: “The valley has suffered three major storm events in the last 10 years, including the catastrophic impact of Storm Desmond in 2015. Analysis by river restoration experts at AECOM says the flood peak could be significantly reduced if we can create a large area for storing flood water below Cow Bridge.

“We have been working with our tenant and Natural England to secure a countryside Stewardship agreement to support the project which gives us a great opportunity to work with nature to make the valley more resilient. Allowing the wider landscape to absorb the effects of the weather should improve flood resilience, water quality and wildlife habitats.

“It’s also been important to hear from other stakeholders and we are holding a series of community events at the beginning of November” added Rebecca.

The plans have the support of the Patterdale Community Flood Group. Rob Shephard, Chairman of Patterdale Parish Council and a member of the Flood Group said: “We have been working closely with the National Trust since Storm Desmond on a number of projects to reduce our community’s exposure to future flood risk. We are very excited about the Goldrill Beck scheme as this will provide multiple benefits to the community including increased water storage for Goldrill beck and most importantly in reducing the risk of flood damage to our one and only road, the A592, at Hartsop.”

Once all permissions are in place, work will start next Spring (2019). Rebecca Powell, Project Manager anticipates the project will be finished by Autumn 2019.

Anyone interested in finding out more, or wanting to follow the progress of the project should visit this web page: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aira-force-and-ullswater

The community events are being held tomorrow (Thursday 1st) 2-6pm and on Saturday 10th November 10am-2pm at Howe Green Farm with parking at Cow Bridge Car Park. Please contact [email protected] if you require more information.

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