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Low Crosby Flood Risk Management Scheme

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Introduction

The village of Low Crosby is situated on the right bank of the River Eden approximately 5km north-east of Carlisle in Cumbria. The village is subject to fluvial flood risk from the River Eden which results in the flood water flowing up Willow Beck– a small tributary watercourse to the River Eden which flows through the undefended western part of the village. The village is also subject to flood risk from surface water and artificial drainage systems, with the latter source being heavily influenced by the River Eden flow conditions. The main pre-existing forms of defence for Low Crosby, and the surrounding area, are demonstrated on figure 1 below.

 

Figure 1: Low Crosby and surrounding existing defences

 

The village has suffered fluvial flooding on multiple occasions historically. In recent years, flooding has occurred because of high flows in the River Eden in January 2005, November 2009, December 2015 (following Storm Desmond) and most recently in February 2020 (following Storm Ciara).

The severe flooding experienced at Low Crosby on 5th and 6th December 2015, as a result of Storm Desmond, was unprecedented. This storm caused a period of prolonged, intense rainfall across Northern England, falling on an already saturated catchment, and led to high river levels and flooding throughout Cumbria and beyond. The flow in the River Eden in to the Carlisle area on 6th of December was the highest ever recorded, resulting in flood levels in some locations of approximately 600mm higher than those experienced during the previous record set in January 2005.

In June 2016, the Cumbria Strategic Flood Partnership published the Cumbria Flood Action Plan which set out how flood risk would be managed in an integrated manner at a catchment-wide scale. The plan identifies a need to improve the standard of protection to Low Crosby.

The Environment Agency are the lead organisation currently investigating the viability of improving the standard of protection to Low Crosby as a part of the Low Crosby Flood Risk Management Scheme (FRMS). They are working in partnership with other Risk Management Authorities, such as Cumbria County Council and United Utilities, in order to understand the likely impacts of climate change on flood risk and to determine feasible options to reduce the risk of flooding.

The Environment Agency hope to develop a successful business case in order to progress a flood risk management scheme by summer 2021. The following activities are being undertaken in the interim;

  • Summer 2020 – Currently, the Environment Agency’s suppliers, Jacobs, are working to model flood risk, taking into account future climate change projections, and are considering a number of options to reduce flood risk to the Low Crosby community. Jacobs are also undertaking a number of environmental surveys in order to establish any future working constraints. There is a statutory requirement to undertake these surveys.
  • Autumn 2020 – The Environment Agency will be working with the local community in autumn 2020 in order to determine a preferred option and establish funding requirements. There may be a need to undertake some ground investigation in localised areas in order to validate the feasibility of some options.
  • Winter 2020/2021 – Subject to the successful identification of a preferred option, and being able to obtain the relevant funds, the Environment Agency hope to progress the preferred option to detail design in Winter 20/21 with a view to acquiring the necessary statutory consents in Spring 2021.
  • Summer 2021 – Subject to scheme feasibility, and the ability to obtain the relevant funding and statutory consents, the Environment Agency hope to submit a business case for government review in the early summer period. If successfully approved the Environment Agency would look to commence a scheme as soon as possible

The Environment Agency are currently looking to undertake some small localised pieces of work to aid in the reduction of flood risk before winter 2020/2021.