Work on a major £30m flood defence scheme is now underway in Burton-upon-Trent, with the project designed to reduce flood risk for 5,500 properties currently facing possible flooding from the River Trent, including 4,500 homes and 1,000 businesses.
The government funded project, with some additional local levy support, is part of the Environment Agency’s £2.6bn investment programme into flood defences across the country, which will see an additional 300,000 homes better protected from 2015 to 2021.
The upcoming works will see improvements to parts of the 9km of existing flood walls and embankments. This will include creating deeper foundations and other adjustments, which together, will provide an ongoing level of protection to the surrounding area.
The Environment Agency say the upgraded defences will better safeguard homes and businesses from flooding for decades to come. In addition to the thousands of homes protected, they say the investment will support the ongoing economic growth of the town by reducing flood risk to 394km² of commercial land which sits behind the defence, in turn helping to safeguard 12,460 jobs in Burton.
The Environment Agency is also working with East Staffordshire Borough Council and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust on improvements for visitors and the environment within the Washlands, the large area of floodplain between the river and the town. This will include creating new wildlife habitats in the form of wetland areas and ponds, as well as installation of new lighting along the boardwalks and a new children’s play area.
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: “This £30m project will not only reduce flood risk to over 5,500 homes and businesses but will also boost the local economy by protecting thousands of jobs for decades to come. We’ve all seen the devastating impact flooding can have on communities in recent weeks and that’s why we are continuing to invest £2.6 billion to better protect homes across the country.”