Flimby flood alleviation

Background:

Flimby is a village located on the West Coast of Cumbria between Workington and Maryport with a population of approximately 2000 people. Inland from the coast, the land rises steeply for approximately three kilometres, reaching the hill crest where the sources of the watercourses can be found. Flimby has a long record of flooding from Penny Gill and Flimby Gill (Barrel Arch), which flow through culverts under the village and railway embankment before discharging out at sea, and is also vulnerable to surface water flooding. Flimby was badly affected by flooding in December 2015 when 100 properties were inundated and roads became impassable.

The Environment Agency have funding to undertake measures to reduce flood risk to the village. As the catchment is small and responds rapidly to rainfall, measures to ‘slow the flow’ and store water within the catchment could be very effective at reducing flood risk. West Cumbria Rivers Trust are leading the natural flood management aspect of the project, with funding from DEFRA.

The working group:

A working group has been established to look at a partnership approach to reduce flood risk to Flimby. Currently the following organisations are represented on the working group:

  • Environment Agency (Chair)
  • Cumbria County Council
  • CH2M consultants
  • West Cumbria Rivers Trust
  • Farmer Network
  • Forestry Commission
  • Flimby Flood Action Group and local community representation
  • United Utilities

What’s happened so far?

The Environment Agency and their consultants are leading on appraising options for engineered solutions to reduce flood risk including up-sizing of culverts, diverting watercourses and creating new surface water drainage channels to provide additional storage.

West Cumbria Rivers Trust are currently working with landowners to identify opportunities for natural flood management interventions to store water in the landscape during flood events. So far, 17 leaky dams have been installed and sites have been identified for a bunded storage areas, hedgerow planting and new riparian buffer strips. This work is funded through the DEFRA NFM programme and the effectiveness of the interventions is being monitored by Lancaster University.