£38m Carlisle flood defence scheme completed a year ahead of schedule

Posted: Monday 21st June 2010

The Environment Agency has opened its £38 million Carlisle flood alleviation scheme, reducing flood risk to almost 3,500 homes and businesses.

Last November, emergency works by the Environment Agency on unfinished sections of the new defence protected 800 properties when the River Eden burst its banks during the Cumbria floods. The organisation estimates that this prevented some £48 million worth of damage alone – £10m more than the cost of the scheme.

The new scheme was already in development prior to severe flooding of the city in 2005 which claimed the lives of three people and affected 1,800 properties. It includes 10km of raised defences, 30 flood gates, two new automated pumping stations, two raised footbridges and 1,500 metres of improved cycleway.

Speaking at the opening of the new defence, Environment Agency Chairman Lord Chris Smith said: “This £38m scheme, which has been completed almost a year ahead of schedule, will reduce the risk of flooding to almost 3,500 homes and businesses in Carlisle.

“It is essential that we continue to defend communities, businesses and the economy from the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. The Environment Agency has completed over 116 flood defence schemes in the past two years, providing increased protection to over 77,500 extra properties.

“However no one can completely prevent flooding and so I urge everyone to check whether their property is at risk by visiting the Environment Agency’s website and sign up to receive free localised flood warnings.”

Carlisle’s Flood Alleviation Scheme is the result of close partnership work between the Environment Agency, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council, United Utilities, Natural England, local businesses and the local community.

Earlier this year, the Environment Agency signed up 500,000 extra properties at flood risk in England and Wales to its free flood warning service, more than doubling the total registered to almost one million.

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