This week, the Environment Agency is starting work on a new £25 million flood risk management scheme that will better protect more than 1,600 homes and businesses in Carlisle, Cumbria.
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, is officially marking the occasion with the first spade in the ground on 31st July 2019 at Walkmill Crescent, near Botcherby Bridge in Carlisle.
Phase one of the Carlisle Flood Risk Management scheme will reduce flood risk to more than 1,200 homes and 106 businesses at a cost of £8 million pounds – increasing protection from the previous scheme completed in 2005 to a 0.5% chance of flooding in any one year.
The first phase of the new scheme will involve building and improving flood defences at Melbourne Park, the raising of land at the entrance to Tesco at the junction off Warwick Road, as well as work on and around Botcherby Bridge to improve the flow of water.
In addition to raising and extending the existing flood walls, work during the first phase will also include enhancing wildlife habitats in Melbourne Park and improving recreation facilities, including new park benches and entrance features. The Environment Agency will also be planting extensive wildflower meadows to increase the number of native birds, amphibians, small mammals and pollinators. The habitat will primarily support native pollinators including butterflies, moths and bees, helping to sustain insects that pollinate our food crops.
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: “I was in Carlisle during the 2015 floods and witnessed first-hand the devastating effects on people’s lives and livelihoods. So I am personally delighted to be here to see work starting on this new £25 million pound scheme which will better protect more than 1,200 homes and over 100 business against flooding for decades to come.
“This important project will also benefit the environment by enhancing essential habitats and increasing biodiversity across the area, creating better spaces for local people and wildlife. It will do what the Environment Agency exists to do: create a better place.”
Stuart Mounsey, Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for Cumbria, said: “The community of Carlisle have seen how devastating flooding can be. That’s why I’m so pleased we can start work to further reduce flood risk to more than 1600 homes and businesses.
“We have worked closely with our partners and the local community to develop an improved flood scheme which not only benefits the people of Carlisle, but also the environment.
“It is hoped phase one of the scheme will be completed by the end of this year better protecting Carlisle this winter against another Storm Desmond sized storm, with phase one delivering the greatest improvement to homes in the city.
“This scheme will have the highest standard of protection outside London and York, and whilst we can never guarantee that there will never be future flooding, we hope that this scheme will bring peace of mind to the public.
The £25m scheme will be delivered over three phases in total and will better protect 1600 homes and business by its completion in 2021.”
The Environment Agency has looked at many different options and combinations of options for reducing flood risk in Carlisle, and have shared and consulted with the public to design the best possible scheme for the city.
The Environment Agency is working towards submitting the planning application for the further phases during winter 2019. Residents, businesses and local interest groups will have opportunities to have their say and help shape the further phases of the scheme ahead of the planning application.