The people of Cumbria were badly hit by the floods of winter 2015/16, which caused an estimated £500 million worth of damage.
In response to those devastating storms, the Government is injecting a total of £72 million across the region to provide better flood protection to around 4,300 properties.
As work to repair flood defences in the area nears completion, UK Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey has visited West Cumbria to see the scheme in action.
Expected to cost £10 million, the work involves removing debris and gravel from rivers, reinforcing flood defence walls and repairing pumping stations. A further £3 million is being spent to look at different options for flood defence schemes across Cumbria, including contributions from local communities, members of the public and private organisations.
“We’re committed to better protecting Cumbria from flooding and that’s why our investment will better protect 4,300 homes and businesses,” Thérèse Coffey said. “With the £10m programme to repair Cumbria’s defences now almost finished we are now looking a further ways to protect the country, working closely to the community, and making sure homes are better prepared.”
The Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk manager for Cumbria, Andy Brown, said: “We know the devastating impact the 2015 floods had on people’s lives and livelihoods.
“A lot of hard work has gone into repairing and restoring damage caused by the floods and rebuilding, not just physical things like walls and bridges, but refocusing on our commitment to build long term partnerships because we can manage flood risk more effectively together in Cumbria.
“We are now conducting a £3m appraisal to gather scientific data to identify longer-term solutions to reducing flood risk.”
As part of her February 2017 visit, Ms Coffey also met with Cockermouth shop owner Jonty Chippendale, whose business was flooded in 2009 and 2015. She has since used a £5,000 grant to install flood resilience measures including moving electrical plug sockets higher up walls.
Ms Chippendale said: “When we flooded it was dreadful, but once the water had gone we soon realised we had a choice. We could either give up or take control, and so we used a government grant to make our property more resilient. Hopefully we are proof that you can bounce back. But if you just wait for something to happen, it won’t.”
Managing risk is a key part of planning for the area’s future flood defences – but is also a key consideration for anybody working or living in a flood-prone area. For more tips, including advice on your own flood insurance, talk to us today.