The Environment Agency is delivering a proposed Flood Risk Management Scheme to better protect homes and businesses 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.
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The Upper Kent catchment which includes the tributaries of the Gowan, Sprint, Mint and Stock Beck has a long history of flooding which was experienced most recently during Storm Desmond in 2015, when 2,276 properties and businesses were flooded in Kendal, Burneside, Staveley and Ings.
Since the flooding in 2015, the Environment Agency along with Westmorland and Furness Council (formerly Cumbria County Council and South Lakeland District Council), United Utilities and other professional partners including the local community have investigated over 60 different options for how to best manage flood risk across the catchment.
Each option was carefully considered for their technical feasibility, economic viability, environmental sustainability and social acceptability. The preferred options for the Upper Kent catchment were presented in September 2018 which consisted of a combination of options that included raised linear walls and embankments, conveyance improvements and upstream storage. Multi-million pounds will be invested in this combination of measures that will aim to reduce the risk of flooding to a 1% chance in any one year to 1,480 homes and 1,100 local businesses which employ 6,105 people in the town of Kendal and villages of Burneside, Staveley and Ings. This investment will protect the local economy worth £277 million and will reduce flood damages by £880 million.