Rory visited the Environment Agency’s £6.2million flood alleviation scheme at Thacka Beck last Friday, inspecting the major work that has been undertaken to reduce the risk of flooding in Penrith. The scheme, which has reduced the risk of flooding to 263 homes and 119 businesses in Penrith from 20% to1% in any one year, has involved the fixing and replacing of over 657 metres of culverts underneath the streets of Penrith; the building of a 76,000m3 storage reservoir that has been built upstream to hold back flood water; and conservation work around the flood storage basin to provide a wetland wildlife haven which the local community can also enjoy.
Rory was joined by Jez Westgarth, the Agency’s Area Environment Manager for Cumbria, who showed the local MP around the project. Rory said: “Homes and businesses in Penrith have experienced flooding four times in the last 16 years, most significantly in 2005 when 35 properties flooded, causing considerable damage to both residential and commercial properties. This is a great scheme that has given many, many residents peace of mind. The creation of a conservation area shows how, when we are flexible and thoughtful, we can bring added community benefits to infrastructure projects at relatively little cost. I’m very glad to be able to see at first-hand how successful this project has been.”
Picture below: Rory and Jez Westgarth at Thacka Beck