A66 & communities flood alleviation and Newlands beck restoration


After flooding in 2007, the Pitt Review highlighted the areas of the Highways England road network where flood risk needed to be addressed. Since then Highways England have been working hard and only a few areas remain where work is still needed.  One of these is the A66 between Braithwaite and Thornthwaite which floods in large events from the overtopping of Newlands and Pow beck. The work to reduce flood risk reduction to the A66 could also tie in to planned work by the Environment Agency to reduce flood risk to Braithwaite village.

Concurrently, West Cumbria Rivers Trust have a long held aspiration to restore Newlands beck. The stream has historically been straightened and frequently needs maintenance to keep it in its current course. Reinstating meanders to Newlands beck and giving it a more natural course would ‘slow the flow’, contributing to reducing downstream flood risk, improve habitat for a wide range of species and reduce the amount of maintenance required to the stream and footpath.

A working group has been established to look an integrated approach to reducing flood risk to the A66 road, Portinscale and Braithwaite villages and restoring Newlands beck. Lots of people and organisations have an interest in this catchment, not least the farmers, business owners and residents.

The working group:

The working group is chaired by Highways England. Currently, the following organisations/groups are represented on the working group:

  • Highways England (Chair)
  • Environment Agency
  • Natural England
  • Cumbria County Council
  • Highways England appointed consultants
  • Lake District National Park Authority
  • West Cumbria Rivers Trust
  • Above Derwent Parish Council / Braithwaite Flood Action Group
  • Local farmers
  • The Rivers Trust

What’s happened so far?

The working group has had two meetings. A feasibility study on options for restoring Newlands beck is underway. A meeting for landowners and farmers was held in February 2019 to update them on the work being done and find out their aspirations for the catchment.

Once the feasibility study is complete the working group will meet, with local communities and other interested organisations, to decide the best option for achieving multiple benefits in the catchment.