Glass panel plan for new £45m Preston flood defences

Glass panels, which are used in Northwich, may form part of  the flood defence scheme
Glass panels, which are used in Northwich, may form part of the flood defence scheme
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Glass-panelled flood defences are being considered as part of a £45m scheme to protect Preston and South Ribble.

The Environment Agency (EA), Lancashire County Council (LCC) and partners are developing the Preston and South Ribble flood risk management scheme, aimed at lowering the flood risk for communities from Preston Riversway up towards the M6 motorway and Higher Walton.

The project, which is dependent on European funding - said not to be affected by Brexit - could protect around 4,000 residential properties as well as more than 300 businesses which are currently at flood risk.

Flood defences already in place were built at various points between the 1920s and 1980s, and are said to be “coming to the end of their life”. The new scheme would likely be made up of flood walls and embankments in various locations within Preston and South Ribble.

Drop-in events for residents have been running all year and during a second round of engagement events, feedback from previous sessions has been revealed, including concerns that proposed new flood defence walls were too high.

Residents wanted to know what other materials could be used in construction such as glass panels and perspex, and the Environment Agency are looking into the prospect of replicating schemes seen in Northwich and Keswick where glass panels are used.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “The Environment Agency have completed ground investigations in the Broadgate, Riversway and Lower Penwortham communities during spring and summer this year to look at the ground conditions and current flood defences. These investigations enabled the Environment Agency to propose a current ‘preferred design option’ of the flood defences.

“These designs have been on display at the public events and we have been asking our communities about how they think the defences could look.

“We have received positive feedback on the proposals as well as the inclusion of glass panels in some areas, something the public wanted. This will of course be subject to securing the necessary funding.”

The Environment Agency is currently in the ‘outline’ stage of the flood defence proposals and will progress to detailed design of the scheme next year. Construction of the flood defences is expected to begin in 2022 and complete by 2023/24.

There are two remaining public events this year - one on October 29 3.30-7.30pm at the Walton le Dale community centre in Queen Victoria Recreational Ground, and one on November 5 from 3.30-7.30pm at the Tickled Trout Hotel, Samlesbury. Public engagement events will continue to run throughout 2020.

Those who are at risk of flooding are encouraged to visit: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings and sign up for free flood warnings.

Alternatively, they can telephone the Environment Agency Floodline on 0345 988 1188 and find out what they can do to protect themselves and their property when flooding hits.