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.
Upstream measures are an essential part of the Flood Risk Management Scheme and our aim to provide a 1 in 100 year standard of protection to homes and businesses in the Kent catchment. The upstream storage element aims to provide 3million m3 of flood storage which will enable all linear defences through Kendal, Burneside, Staveley and Ings to be built to a height that is acceptable for the local area and the community.
In addition to the flood storage, a catchment drain is proposed upstream on Stock Beck which will be designed to divert excess flows overland into the River Mint. This will improve the conveyance of Stock Beck through Sandylands and reduce the risk of Stock Beck surcharging.
Natural flood management, also known as NFM and slow the flow, does form part of the proposals and is complimentary to the proposed traditional engineered measures. NFM as a stand-alone option will not provide the level of flood protection needed for communities within the Kent catchment. This is because there are a number of limitations which include suitable land capacity, large scale land management changes and cost.
The Environment Agency are identifying potential flood storage locations in the Kent catchment that can provide the required storage needed in combination with linear defences which aim to provide a 1 in 100 year standard of protection; the equivalent of a 1% chance of flooding in any given year.
The proposed upstream storage areas will be formalised by building raised earth embankments and integrating a control structure. These measures will maximise the existing natural floodplain in storm conditions and hold excess water to reduce flooding to properties downstream. The land within the storage areas can be used as it is now during normal conditions and will only be utilised to hold excess flood water.
The earth embankments will be carefully landscaped to blend into the natural environment and the river will be kept in its natural state always having free flow to enable the continued unrestricted movement of fish and other river wildlife. The River Kent is ecologically very important and overall we want the scheme to enhance the environment for wildlife within the catchment.