Flimby flood alleviation


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 undertook an appraisal to identify options for reducing flood risk to the village. As the catchment is small and responds rapidly to rainfall, natural flood management measures to ‘slow the flow’ and store water within the catchment could also be very effective at reducing flood risk. 

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?

Cumbria County Council and their contractors are delivering capital works to reduce the flood risk to Flimby. The works include flood water storage basins, watercourse diversions and upgrades to culverts. The works were informed by appraisals undertaken by the Environment Agency. 

So far the project has delivered diversion channels for high flows, improvements to surface water drains and culvert upgrades. More information is available here.

Between 2018 and 2022, West Cumbria Rivers Trust, worked with landowners to deliver natural flood management interventions to store water in the landscape during flood events. This included 70 leaky dams, a water storage area, tree planting and kested hedgerows.  This work was funded through the DEFRA NFM programme and the Flimby Flood Alleviation scheme. The effectiveness of the interventions is being monitored by Lancaster University.

More details on the NFM work are available here.


Leaky dam above Flimby village during high flows.

A bund along a field boundary to hold back surface water runoff during heavy rain.

Logs within a watercourse to ‘slow the flow’.