Nine of the projects – worth a total of £1.7m – have received regional approval from the relevant agencies, which is expected to result in them getting the national go ahead from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). A tenth, smaller scheme - also for Wyre - is the subject of a bid to a North West-based fund.
The decisions are due shortly and, when they come, further design work will be done to more fully develop each of the plans. Some of the projects are designed to rectify existing problems, while others will take the form of studies to determine what action is needed.
More of the cash is earmarked for Wyre than any other part of Lancashire, with a £600,000 scheme planned for Thornton-Cleveleys to improve surface water management. The project will draw on the results of previous studies by the Environment Agency, as well information gathered by water company United Utilities in the wake of flooding in the area back in November 2017.
Meanwhile, an investigation will be carried out into how to manage "complex" surface water flooding issues in the Pilling catchment area.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment and climate change Shaun Turner told a recent cabinet meeting that he hoped the identified schemes would make Lancashire “more resilient to flooding”.
He also stressed the potential complexity of the works, the most demanding of which could stretch out to 2027.
“It’s not just about turning up and putting a drain in and hoping that [it] will do the job. There is a lot of investigation [that] goes into making these schemes credible - and that is the only way you can be successful [in bidding for funding],” he explained.
Members agreed to accept the expected grant into County Hall’s capital programme - and also for the authority to provide an unspecified amount in “partnership contributions” towards the cost of the projects. This match funding will not necessarily be in cash, but could come in the form of a commitment to maintain any new infrastructure, as well as to donate staff time.
The meeting heard that the county council will attempt to develop those flood alleviation projects that do not involve the creation of new assets, which would put a maintenance burden on the authority in future years. Where that is unavoidable, however, the installation of any new infrastructure will be subject to further approval within the council as and when the schemes are developed.
Cabinet member for highways and transport Charlie Edwards said that it was also important for those who own watercourses to be made aware of their flood prevention responsibilities. Anybody who has a body of water running on or under their land - or along its border - is generally regarded as a “riparian owner”.
That means they are obliged to allow water to flow naturally, to take action to report and, if necessary, remove any blockages and to alert the authorities to any flooding which does occur.
“We do need to make sure we educate our residents and those [who] are riparian owners…so that they understand the…responsibilities they have and the impact their actions or inactions [may] have on flooding,” County Cllr Edwards said.
Watercourses covered by riparian ownership include rivers, streams, brooks and culverts.
Although the county council is the lead local flood authority for Lancashire, County Cllr Turner said that flood prevention was not solely County Hall’s responsibility “by a long shot”. He urged residents to visit the “Flood Hub” website in order to learn what they could do to help prevent flooding in their area.
LANCASHIRE’S PROPOSED FLOOD SCHEMES
Carnforth, Kellet Road culvert – optioneering and design for highway culvert upsizing – £100,000
Torrisholme and Bare surface water surface management plan – using the extensive surveys made by Flood Risk Management & Highways teams during 2021 to identify best value locations for improvement schemes – £25,000
Brierfield level 2 surface water management plan – study with community engagement £148,500
Whalley surface water improvement scheme – Wiswell Brook improvements – £220,000
Longridge and Barrow level 2 surface water management plan – studies, with community engagement – £242,000
Prospect Avenue, Lostock Hall – to understand and improve surface water drainage between the railway lines and Brownedge Road – £150,000
Parbold Village options appraisal and scheme delivery – to complete work already initiated by Lancashire County Council after December 2015 floods – £200,000
Thornton-Cleveleys level 3 surface water management – combining previous studies by the Environment Agency and United Utilities with information from November 2017 flooding and more recent and localised events, to identify options for sustainable surface water management – £600,000
Pilling catchment study – to identify sustainable options for managing complex surface water flooding – £40,000
Preesall emergency traffic management – required for highways’ community project – £30,000 (from Regional Flood and Coastal Committee local levy)
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