Cumbria Flood Action Focuses on Long-Term Catchment Planning

The Government has set out its Cumbria Flood Action Plan entitled “Reducing Flood Risk from Source To Sea”, it sets outs the first steps towards an integrated catchment plan for Cumbria.

 Cumbria Flood Action Plan

In addition to the much-needed short-term actions made in response to the Storm Desmond flooding, the plan outlines longer term measures to protect communities in the region including increasing to £72 million the Government funding to better protect 4,300 homes by 2021.

Floods Minister Rory Stewart opens the report’s foreword by saying the floods in Cumbria were “horrendous in their intensity”, flooding three complete river systems simultaneously. Three newly-appointed Environment Agency Catchment Directors will be tasked with re-examining the river systems in Cumbria, from the source to the sea.  The aim should be to:

“to make sure that the money we spend on the environment, farming, and water supply continues to contribute to flood protection,” says the report.

“The plans will rely on state-of-the-art engineering and scientific modelling of water movement.  But it will also rely on listening to communities, and farmers – who live alongside these rivers, know the most detailed local problems, and have seen the behaviour of the rivers at first hand.”

According to the report, the measures will include:

  • restoring 350 hectares of peatland to hold water upstream for longer at several sites in the headwaters of the Eden, Derwent and Kent/Leven catchments.
  • working with United Utilities to make changes to the way Thirlmere reservoir is managed to provide flood protection without compromising security of supply.
  • working with 4 small communities to test what integrated flood and land management looks like in practice.
  • implementing measures to slow the flow where feasible, including woody debris dams and floodplain storage upstream of Gamblesby, Cumrew and Stockdalewath in the Eden catchment, and channel meandering on the Whit Beck in the Derwent catchment.
  • requiring all local planning authorities in Cumbria to update key spatial planning documents to ensure that new development is safe and resilient by summer 2017.

For more details, read The Cumbria Flood Action Plan.

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