Improving flood resilience in Northwich

Homes and businesses in Northwich are more resilient to flooding this winter thanks to the combined efforts of the Environment Agency, Cheshire West and Chester Council and United Utilities.

The partnership has led to a range of measures to reduce the risk of flooding including investing in high volume pumps to move floodwater, checking the town’s flood defences and waterways along with developing multi agency flood plans.

The new pumps will allow up to 1,000 litres per second of water, the equivalent of 34 Olympic sized swimming pools, to be pumped from the river per day in the event of a storm similar to that of Christoph in 2021.

Partners are also working together to develop a more coordinated strategic approach to reduce the increased flood risk that is occurring as a result of the climate emergency.

Ollie Hope, Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We sympathise with everyone who has been affected by past flooding events in Northwich. We have been working hard with partners to understand what happened and to address those issues going forward.

“The £7 million Northwich Flood Defence Scheme has significantly reduced the risk of flooding to properties however we are committed to doing whatever we can to reduce flood risk, from all sources, even further.

“That’s why we are working closely with a number of partner organisations to better identify all possible actions, large or small, that will drive down flood risk from every angle.

“It is important to recognise that we can’t stop all flooding, especially given the increasingly extreme weather we are seeing as a result of climate change. We would urge everyone in Northwich to sign up for our free flood warning service and prepare a flood plan so that they know what to do if flooding occurs.”

Councillor Karen Shore, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport said:

“The Council’s joint working with the Environment Agency and United Utilities will help to protect communities from the risks posed by flooding in the coming winter months. The new water pumps in Northwich have impressive capabilities.

“The Council has recently concentrated its efforts in high-risk areas and prepared communities in Northwich, Acton Bridge and Weaverham.  This has involved large-scale grid cleaning, drainage jetting and sweeping operations to keep drainage systems and road surfaces as clear of debris as possible.

“The Council’s gully (grid) annual cleaning programme, which aims to clean over 85,000 grids across the borough at least once before March 2022 is also running ahead of schedule.”

Craig Connor, Drainage Area Manager for United Utilities said:

“Not one organisation can solve flooding in isolation and the importance of collective partnership work is paramount. We are absolutely committed to working with all our partners to ensure issues are investigated thoroughly and measures are put in place to minimise the risk of flooding, to help better protect the community.

“As a company we also continue to invest and make changes in how we manage and maintain the sewer network so we can better forecast any potential issues and respond accordingly throughout the year.”