Flood experts clinch deal to protect town

Malvern Gazette: HOLDING BACK THE WATER: Work starts building urgently needed flood defences. HOLDING BACK THE WATER: Work starts building urgently needed flood defences.

A WORCESTERSHIRE company has embarked on a £255,000 project to protect the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth from flooding.

UK Flood Barriers, of Droitwich, has been called in by the Environment Agency to install a defence system to make sure the devastation the area suffered in November 2009 doesn’t happen again.

Based on the Hampton Lovett Industrial Estate, the company specialises in passive flood defence, which is self-activated by the power of incoming flood water and requires no human intervention.

It offers protection to an individual property, for sewage and air brick defence and doors, as well as for communities, for which it has pioneered self-closing flood barriers. This solution is currently being installed in Cockermouth.

Built in front of the existing flood wall, the barrier has been tailor-made to meet the exacting requirements of the project and is set up along 120 metres of the riverbank of the river Cocker, a site of special scientific interest.

When deployed, the barrier will rise to one metre, offering an additional half metre of protection above the wall.

UK Flood Barriers was set up in 2007 by Frank Kelly and has since grown to employ nearly 40 staff at its Worcestershire headquarters with steady year-on-year growth.

The project is expected to be complete within weeks.

Mr Kelly said: “When complete, the residents of Cockermouth can rest easy in the knowledge their homes and businesses are protected by this innovative passive system which is activated purely by the power of flood water.”

Flooding has been a severe problem across many parts of the country in recent years, including Worcestershire. Last month, stretches of the river Severn peaked at more than five metres, the highest since 2008, with surface water making roads impassible and localised flooding. And in November, in Kempsey, near Worcester, a £1.7 million flood defence system stopped working, causing 40 homes to be evacuated.

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