Environment Agency Proposals

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Hello Everyone

This is going to be a lengthy message regarding the progress being made towards flood alleviation in Cockermouth. I have not reported anything previously as there has not been much to update. Today CFAG had a meeting with the Environment Agency (EA). A few weeks ago we sent a list of short term and long term wishes that we believe could help flood alleviation. Frustratingly the EA’s process of investigation, feasibility studies, procurement, funding etc are extremely lengthy and slow processes. Today we discovered they are looking into a multimillion pound scheme to alleviate flooding within the town, a consultation team will be taking this forward, there will be studies to discover what the best scheme would be, this could include changes/removal of Gote bridge, improvement to existing flood defences, a swale through broomlands etc. Unfortunately it could take up to two to three years for this to happen. However there maybe the opportunity for some work to be carried out next year e.g modifications to the rising barrier on Rubby banks, flood gate on Victoria bridge, cutting of swale through broomlands. This news is better than expected but there will be nothing done to stop us flooding this year. The EA have looked at their flood warnings and there should some improvements there. A clear message to them was the lack of communication prior to the flood, this will be improved meaning CFAG can give better warnings to the community. On that note over the last few months we have formed Cockermouth Emergency Response Group (CERG). The aim of the group is to provide assistance prior to flooding, we will be announcing shortly that we are looking for volunteers to act when a warning comes to help people move property upstairs or out of the house, the aim being is to save as many possessions as possible so recovery is quicker, particularly for the more vulnerable in our community so please look out for the announcement. Below is the wish list we sent to the EA with updates.

Short
1. Flood gate upstream of Rubby Banks – in progress, EA have plans to sandbag if flood gate not in position and we have a flood warning
2. Increased height of flood gates along Waterloo Street, High Sands Lane ..will be considered as part of a new scheme
3. Concerns re flap valves Waterloo Street area … to be investigated
4. Defences by The Trout …this may be one of the quick wins.
5. Completion of Main Street surface water scheme.. work to commence shortly, public meeting re scheme on 6 th October
6. Review and improvement of flood warnings …a great deal of work and training has occurred within the EA so should see a dramatic improvement.
7. Review issue of penstock valve Gote Road defences ..this was a problem after the flood as water could not get away as padlock in place..we have suggested that the padlock be removed when flood gates closed..EA found suggestion acceptable and will schedule
8. Maintenance programme of gullies and drainage systems…new system to be introduced by county council in November, hopefully there will be an dramatic improvement.
10. Hatters Croft – increased resistance…planning permission application already in for this.

Long
1. If Gote Road bridge was removed completely what impact would this have on flood alleviation?..waiting for results of modelling, there is serious consideration that changed/removal of bridge in long term.
2. Extended defences behind Derwentside Gardens, review of existing defences … this will be part of new scheme but may also be an achievable short term gain
3. Defences to rear of Walkers factory..this will depend on what happens long term. Walkers still in negotiations about possible new site.
4. Revisit proposal of a swale across Broomlands …being considered by EA, they seem to have more faith in this proposal and could be an easy and quick gain
7. Radical review of properties which are vulnerable to severe flooding… has to be considered as part of the big scheme
7. Revisit gravel management policy…under review
I hope you find the above informative, I know many of you will be disappointed that it appears nothing is going to happen quickly. CFAG is a pressure group and will continue to lobby to expediate the flood alleviation scheme. We are pleased with the outcome of today’s meeting as work has commenced towards a multimillion flood alleviation scheme for Cockermouth. Please cascade this information to as many people as possible.

Drop-in sessions

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The Environment Agency, local councils and partners are inviting residents to have their say on flooding at a series of community drop-in sessions and meetings across Cumbria.

The first drop-in sessions, detailed below, will be held in a mobile trailer with further meetings to scheduled soon to coincide with parish council meetings, dates to be confirmed:
Cockermouth: Town centre 11am to 2pm and Gote Rd 3pm to 6pm on 28 January 2016.

The drop-in sessions provide an opportunity for local people to inform flood risk management in their community by providing information on their experiences. This will help identify the extent and cause of local flooding and inform recovery work. It’s also an opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns and access information about funding and support.
Dan Bond, Environment Agency Manager, said: “You can’t underestimate the devastating impacts of flooding to people’s lives and the key to recovering quickly, and increasing our flood resilience in the long term, is to listen to the people who experienced it first hand and learn from their experiences.
“We’ve been visiting affected communities since the flooding began in early December, and these drop-in sessions are the start of a more coordinated approach to involving local people in the development of local flood risk management plans.
“We would encourage anyone affected by flooding to come along and talk to us. We will have technical experts from the Environment Agency and County Council available to chat to, with support from a number of agencies that can provide advice and support.”

Early Heads up – Weather Alert for Friday and Saturday

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Hi all

This is just an early heads up that we may be seeing some further intense rain during Friday evening and Saturday evening. Current forecast is for rain to move into the Region on both evenings giving some intense rainfall. The current locations which may be worst affected will be high ground of Western and Southern Cumbria. Early indications is that there is the potential for some surface water issues and rivers will again rise. We expect to be issuing further Flood Alerts but do not expect to issue any Flood Warnings at this time.

We will get a better more accurate forecast tomorrow so will endeavour to send a further update tomorrow.

A message has also been sent out on Cumbria Community Messaging, please take the time to register to receive warnings and information from this service if you haven’t already done so.

Many thanks

Flood Warning Duty Officer
Environment Agency