The Environment Agency is delivering a proposed Flood Risk Management Scheme to better protect homes and business from flooding in the Kent catchment, and improve the local environment and community amenities. Kendal is the first area to be delivered, followed by Burneside, Staveley, and Ings, and upstream measures including flood storage. In addition, Natural Flood Management measures are being integrated into the plans which aim to slow the flow of water and provide wider environmental benefits across the catchment.
This section of the webpage provides an overview of the proposals for the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme, how they will be delivered, and what the community can expect during this time. All of the information can also be found within the Kendal Design and Benefits Guide document which can be downloaded below.
The historic market town of Kendal has a blend of old and new buildings featuring a variety of styles and finishes. The design of the Flood Risk Management Scheme will be sympathetic to this history, and the Environment Agency is working hard to ensure that all flood walls are built and finished in a way that blends into the existing, varied landscape.
There will be a number of finishes to the flood defence walls which have had planning permission granted.
Walls in the centre of Kendal will be made predominantly from re-using existing stone or natural stone clad, sourced from a local quarry. However, in some of the outer areas of the town, imprinted concrete will be used which replicates natural stone, and in industrial areas where the walls will be much less visible, they will be finished in smooth concrete.
Around 6km of flood defences throughout Kendal will be built, with over half of these being set back from the riverside. Defences are set back from the river where possible as this helps to make more space for water, improves the river corridor environment and retains riverside access.
The flood defences will not be one continuous wall. They are designed to blend naturally into higher ground through the town and will be a combination of walls, embankments and sections of glass panels.
The glass panels are important in order to retain views of the river and key areas of interest. Glass panels will be installed at Gooseholme, Waterside, and Aynam Road.
Floodgates will be another key feature of the scheme as they will maintain riverside access. During high river levels, the floodgates will be closed so there is a continuous line of flood protection.
Railings and Handrails
These are a common feature throughout the town that defines the extent of public access and maintains public safety along the river’s edge. Railings will be replaced in a number of locations with plans to use a single style that will provide consistency.
As part of the scheme, investment is being made into providing greater biodiversity benefits along the river corridor as well as improvements that the community and visitors to the area can enjoy.
The Environment Agency is integrating a number of key features into the scheme that enables important elements of the local heritage and the improved biodiversity along the river corridor.
The installation of artwork will be included into the final scheme design. The artwork will be influenced through engagement with local groups, schools and local artists.
New walking trails and information boards will be installed to share local biodiversity improvements, heritage information and signposting to local areas of interest.
The town centre is a conservation area. Conservation areas are designated for their special architectural or historic interest which are subject to extra planning controls meaning property alterations, demolition and the felling or pruning of trees may require additional permissions.
In the southern most reaches of the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme are the communities of Helsington Mills and Watercrook.
These sit within a landscape which is of heritage importance that includes Laithes Mill Race and Leat which are considered part of the grade II listed structure.
A buried Roman Fort and settlement, of national importance, can also be found here which is protected as a Scheduled Monument. The scheme has been designed to avoid any impacts to this monument and limited work will be undertaken in the area. An archaeologist will monitor all works in this location during construction.
For further information on the design features, download the document below here.
Glass panel walls will be installed along Waterside, Aynam Road and Gooseholme to retain existing riverside views and community connectivity with the River Kent.
The self cleaning glass panels will be between 0.8m to 1m in height, and sit within stainless steel frames.
The Environment Agency are delivering a flood risk management scheme that will run from Helsington Mills in the south of Kendal to Mintsfeet in the north.
The complex nature of delivering a long linear scheme through a busy town centre has led them to break down the scheme into a number of small sections they term as ‘reaches’. The order of work is influenced by minimising traffic and pedestrian movement within the town and ensuring flood risk is managed.
Due to the scale of the project within Kendal, the construction work will be phased over a three year period. The map shows the locations of the different reach areas where works will be occurring.
Work will take place in a number of reaches at the same time and the ordering of these has been carefully considered. The programme table below is accurate as of May 2022 but is subject to change.
Tree assessment and appraisal process
The tree assessment process is detailed and ongoing throughout the design and construction phases. As part of the assessment process, mitigation measures are identified ahead of any construction works and also the determination of the re-use options of wood from all felled trees and branch removal.
A range of techniques will be used in order to manage the tree and vegetation removal on site ahead of any construction works.
Trees that will be retained – Tree protection barriers will be installed to minimise the risk of damage to tree root systems, branches and trunks from soil compaction, contamination, construction works or vehicles.
Vegetation clearance and pruning – Ground covering vegetation will be removed to ensure the working area is clear. Some trees will require pruning to ensure there is safe clearance and space to work but will be protected from further impact. If trees are pruned they will be retained.
Coppicing – This is a process of cutting trees down to ground level and allowing the stumps to regenerate new growth over a number of years. This technique enables the tree to remain.
Soft felling – This approach will be used on trees that have been identified through the assessment process to have bat roosting potential. Soft felling will be undertaken outside of the bat roosting season. This technique involves removing small sections of the tree, carefully lowering to the ground and leaving overnight to provide an opportunity for bats to vacate the tree.
Felling – For tree removal (other than those to be soft felled) a sensitive approach will be taken to ensure limited impacts. Any trees that need to be felled will be done outside of the bird nesting season and appropriate checks will be made on site for any active nests prior to removal works.
The Environment Agency continue to assess the removal of any trees as a consequence of the scheme and continue to work hard to reduce this number. To date, through further assessments and refining the scheme design, the number of trees identified for removal has reduced from 779 to around 500. Work continues to reduce this number further.
Preparing for construction
Ahead of any construction there will be a number of preparation works to carry out. In some locations the Environment Agency are able to deliver the construction works more easily due to larger working areas, the works not being complex in their nature, and because there is little interference from underground services.
There are a number of locations however, particularly in the central areas, where a number of preparatory works are needed before construction can begin.
All the working areas need to be free from utility services and street furniture such as seating, bins and street lighting. Where it is known where underground services are located and street furniture and lighting needs to be removed, preparations are being made with the service providers to divert or undertake removal and relocation works. Some of the major relocation and service diversion works may require footpath closures / diversions and temporary lane closures on the highway.
The approved working hours will be Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm however, the EA’s aim is to work from Monday to Friday only. It is not anticipated that work will take place outside of these hours but if required, additional permissions will be applied for.
Minimising construction noise & dust
Throughout the construction of the scheme noise and dust levels will be monitored and managed to reduce any impact to homes, businesses, public areas, and the natural environment. Several monitoring techniques will be used and a range of measures to provide visual screening will assist with reducing noise and dust levels.
To manage any debris on the roads created by construction traffic, a full clean of the carriageway will be undertaken by a road sweeper or similar at a frequency that is appropriate.
There are dedicated routes for bringing in materials and plant to the site compound area and then distributing from the site compound to the various work areas. The construction traffic and delivery routes will access Kendal from Junctions 36 and 39 of the M6.
The compound area is located at Gilthwaiterigg Lane in the north of the town. The compound is also used to store materials and has office and site welfare facilities.
The primary aim throughout the construction work is to ensure that Kendal is kept moving. This has been fundamental to how the works have been ordered through the town.
The working areas will be compact, balancing the need to keep the contractors, the community and visitors to the area safe, minimising any disruption. Some footpaths along the riverside will be temporarily closed whilst works take place in those areas, but alternative footpaths will be open.
The Traffic Management Plan has been developed in conjunction with Cumbria County Council Highways who have ensured any temporary road closures or lane closures are managed appropriately to minimise traffic disruption.
To download the Traffic Management Plan document (right), click here.
All road bridges will remain open for access at all times. There will be temporary lane closures on Aynam Road and New Road whilst work takes place in these areas. Some riverside footpaths will also be closed but alternative footpath routes will be provided.
The Environment Agency (EA) has a 40% carbon reduction target for its capital schemes between initial business case and construction completion.
The initial estimate of scheme carbon emissions was identified within the business case. This is termed the “carbon baseline”.
The EA are working to reduce their carbon emissions through:
Carbon decisions will be monitored and they will be recalculating the schemes carbon emissions at regular intervals.
Carbon offsetting is additional to the 40% efficiency target and will help the EA’s to their “net zero by 2030” objective.
Additional carbon will be offset through the creation of new environmental areas, upland peat restoration and NFM schemes including tree planting.
Archaeology and History
Kendal has been an important settlement from the medieval period and perhaps earlier; before this a Roman fort and civilian settlement was present at Watercrook Farm in the 2nd and 3rd century AD. Kendal developed as an important market and industrial town during the medieval period and maintained this importance throughout much of the post medieval period.
Kendal’s story is closely connected to the River Kent and as such, the scheme represents the latest part in this story. The scheme has been influenced by this understanding and appreciation of the town, but also by its developing needs in the 21st century.
Historic Environmental Assessment
An Historic Environment Assessment has been undertaken which draws together the understanding of the historic development and significance of Kendal. Click here to download the Historic Environment Assessment document. This assessment has highlighted gaps and areas of opportunity for more of Kendal’s history to be told. Working with the Archaeologists at Cumbria County Council, an archaeological strategy for investigations both prior to, and during construction has been developed.
Avoidance of Heritage Assets
Wherever possible, plans will seek to avoid, protect and retain Kendal’s heritage assets.
Designs to avoid impacts to Abbot Hall park historic boundary wall have been altered.
To minimise impacts on Kendal’s bridges, the flood defences wall will be constructed up against them, rather than cutting into the stone.
Preservation of Structures
At Holy Trinity Church the historic gateway in the boundary wall will be incorporated into the design, leaving it open and landscaping the area to meet flood defence levels.
The Washing Steps at Waterside will be dismantled during the works. Archaeologists will prepare a detailed record, with individual elements being numbered and securely stored for accurate reconstruction.
Supervision of Work
Where work is required on or near to historic structures, archaeological and heritage specialists will monitor the work taking place, record finds, and ensure any items temporarily removed are accurately restored.
There is an exception to the railing design where a section of ‘Webster’ design railings (shown in draft below) will be installed. A section of these will be reproduced on the left bank and this design will influence the railing design throughout the wider scheme.
Jennings Yard fountain
The historic fountain currently located at Jennings Yard will need to be relocated as it is positioned on the line of the new flood defence. New locations are being assessed for a new location.
A new community nature area in the centre of Kendal with features including;
A place to relax on the banks of the River Kent.
Informal pathways through new wetland habitats, woodland planting and species rich grassland.
It is important that the Kendal Flood Risk Management scheme is inclusive and that the principles of inclusive design are considered throughout the scheme design process, during construction and during operation.
The design teams have worked carefully to ensure that the needs of people are considered and that the principles of The Equalities Act 2010 are followed. Examples include:
Together with Cumbria County Council and South Lakeland District Council, the Environment Agency are identifying locations where they can create, improve or connect into footpaths and cycleways as part of the scheme.
Integration of recreational features, signage, seating and artworks forms a key part of the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme.
The proposals are contained within the Kendal FRMS Public Art and Interpretation (Design) Strategy, also termed PAI(D)S. The document provides the rationale for the detailed proposals relating to public art, design of walls and railings, landscaping, floodgates and integration with the historic environment.
Central Kendal Proposed Artwork: Between Romney Gardens and Stramongate Bridge
North Kendal Proposed Artwork: Between Stramongate Bridge & Mint Bridge
When complete, the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme will deliver a series of catchment wide flood risk, community, environment and economic benefits.
In Kendal the Environment Agency (EA) are creating better public access, enhancing the environment through landscaping and planting habitat rich species, and preserving and replicating areas of local heritage importance. The EA will also integrate art, seating, sculptures and educational play in key areas throughout the town.
The landscape plans for each area of the town are tailored to the character and conditions of the site with moisture-loving plants in the wetter areas, native species used where possible, but with some more formal planting and ornamental species in the town centre.
Habitats will be improved outside of the town, with 50 hectares of peatland restoration planned in the upper catchment. This will not only provide ecological benefits, but will help improve water quality, store carbon, and help the catchment become more resilient to the changing climate. In key locations within Kendal, such as Mintsfeet and Beezon Fields, new diverse woodland planting will provide additional cover for otters, and foraging opportunities for birds and bats.
A range of different native woodland types will be planted to provide a range of habitats, from open woodland consisting of mainly taller tree species like oak, birch and alder; to more dense woodland which includes understory shrubs and smaller trees like holly and blackthorn. The planting and landscaping plans have been designed to improve the environment for some of the most threatened and well loved species, such as declining native trees species like aspen.
Specific nest boxes for starlings and swifts will help encourage them back into the area.
New wetland habitats with a diverse range of native marginal planting and seeding will increase biodiversity of both plants and animal species in the area.
Native wildflowers will also provide a boost to pollinators. Insect hotels will assist with providing richer habitat opportunities for insects and invertebrates.
4,000 new trees will be planted to create a habitat rich river corridor. Unfortunately, some trees will need to be removed to allow works to take place, and the amount of trees currently identified for removal is around 500.
Different sized trees will be planted in order to serve different functions and to best suit certain locations.
For example, native species will be planted in more rural locations where habitat creation is important, and in the town centre locations, ornamental trees that are suitable for urban planting have been selected to suit the character of the town.
The table below shows how many of each of the various different sizes of trees will be planted.
Below are some of the native trees and seed mixes that will be planted in more rural locations on the edges of Kendal e.g Mintsfeet, Beezon Fields and Helsington Mills. These species will compliment the natural setting and provide food and shelter for wildlife.
Below are some of the ornamental and native trees, shrubs, grasses, perennial and bulb species that will be planted in town centre locations, including streets, parks and open spaces, e.g. Abbott Hall, Gooseholme Park and Aynam Road. Species will be selected that are appropriate in size and will provide seasonal interest and wildlife value, such as supporting pollinating insects and birds.
During construction, local firms and specialists will be employed and materials will be source locally wherever possible.
So far during construction over 60% of the current construction outlay has been invested into the Kendal local economy.
Through managing flood risk in Kendal and reducing flood damage costs, the scheme will also help to provide security and stability to the local economy.