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Improving flood resilience in Northwich

Homes and businesses in Northwich are more resilient to flooding this winter thanks to the combined efforts of the Environment Agency, Cheshire West and Chester Council and United Utilities.

The partnership has led to a range of measures to reduce the risk of flooding including investing in high volume pumps to move floodwater, checking the town’s flood defences and waterways along with developing multi agency flood plans.

The new pumps will allow up to 1,000 litres per second of water, the equivalent of 34 Olympic sized swimming pools each day, to be pumped from the river in the event of a storm similar to that of Christoph in January 2021

Partners are also working together to develop a more coordinated strategic approach to reduce the increased flood risk that is occurring as a result of the climate emergency.

Ollie Hope, Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We sympathise with everyone who has been affected by past flooding events in Northwich. We have been working hard with partners to understand what happened and to address those issues going forward.

“The £7 million Northwich Flood Defence Scheme has significantly reduced the risk of flooding to properties however we are committed to doing whatever we can to reduce flood risk, from all sources, even further.

“That’s why we are working closely with a number of partner organisations to better identify all possible actions, large or small, that will drive down flood risk from every angle.

“It is important to recognise that we can’t stop all flooding, especially given the increasingly extreme weather we are seeing as a result of climate change. We would urge everyone in Northwich to sign up for our free flood warning service and prepare a flood plan so that they know what to do if flooding occurs.”

Councillor Karen Shore, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said:

“The Council’s joint working with the Environment Agency and United Utilities will help to protect communities from the risks posed by flooding in the coming winter months. The new water pumps in Northwich have impressive capabilities.

“The Council has recently concentrated its efforts in high-risk areas and prepared communities in Northwich, Acton Bridge and Weaverham.  This has involved large-scale grid cleaning, drainage jetting and sweeping operations to keep drainage systems and road surfaces as clear of debris as possible.

“The Council’s gully (grid) annual cleaning programme, which aims to clean over 85,000 grids across the borough at least once before March 2022 is also running ahead of schedule.”

Craig Connor, Drainage Area Manager for United Utilities said:

“Not one organisation can solve flooding in isolation and the importance of collective partnership work is paramount. We are absolutely committed to working with all our partners to ensure issues are investigated thoroughly and measures are put in place to minimise the risk of flooding, to help better protect the community.

“As a company we also continue to invest and make changes in how we manage and maintain the sewer network so we can better forecast any potential issues and respond accordingly throughout the year.”

·         The Environment Agency, Cheshire West and Chester and UU will continue to work together to address recommendations from the October 2019 Section 19 report, published by Cheshire West and Chester Council, to make the community in Northwich more resilient to future flooding.

  • The Environment Agency’s portfolio of assets includes the majority of the country’s inland and coastal flood defences.
  • These assets protect hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses and maintaining them helps prevent the catastrophic flooding of communities across the country.

·        Throughout the year we have continued to build and repair flood defences. We have 250 high volume pumps available and 6,500 trained staff across the country, including 314 trained flood support officers. We’re also making the most of new technology to prepare for and respond to floods:

    • We use drones and aeroplanes to map river channels and the extent of flooding
    • Nimble, remote-controlled boats help us monitor river flows and collect data
    • We use our flood warning system to directly alert over 1.4 million properties at the touch of a button when flooding is expected.
    • We use a wide range of social media and media channels to increase the reach of our warning messages.
  • Environment Agency flood schemes protected almost 130,000 properties during the 2019/20 winter, and around 49,000 properties during Storm Christoph last winter. Our teams will always work around the clock to support the community and our top priority is the safety of residents and working with our partners to get people back into their homes as soon as possible.
  • A record £5.2 billion is being invested between 2021-27, creating around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties across England. These schemes will help to avoid £32 billion in wider economic damages and reduce the national flood risk by up to 11 per cent.
  • More than £860 million of this will be spent in 2021-22 boosting the design and construction of more than 1,000 schemes across England. 
  • This builds of the Environment Agency’s successful delivery of the previous £2.6 billion investment between 2015 and 2021, better protecting more than 314,000 homes. 
  • Many flood schemes in the North West have their own FloodHub page, which will be used to update communities with key information about the projects.
  • Visit https://thefloodhub.co.uk/

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