A new flood management scheme for Lancaster would reduce the risk of a repeat catastrophe like the one cause by Storm Desmond, the Environment Agency has said.
A proposed new scheme is being considered which, if it secures partnership funding, would be eligible to receive a grant in aid funding from the six year flood prevention programme revealed by the Secretary of State this week.
The scheme would reduce flood risk in the Caton Road area, and potentially reduce the threat to the electricity substation, which was flooded on Saturday night, December 5, resulting in 60,000 homes and businesses losing power across the district for the best part of three days.
The river Lune reached record levels at 8.45pm on Saturday with the depth of the water reaching 7.9m at Caton, more than 90cm higher than any level recorded before.
At peak times the river was carrying 1,670m3 of water a second.
Ben Meller, from the Environment Agency, said that the “serious rainfall event” began to reveal itself on Friday, following weather updates from the Met Office.
He said: “ The first flood alert for the River Lune was issued at 3.47pm on Friday, and a flood warning was issued for the flood plain at 1pm on Saturday December 5.
“We sent teams out to issue flood defences and carry out ‘grid runs’, basically ensuring that anywhere that water runs underground - they go out and remove any debris so that water can run more easily.
“After that we were monitoring the situation and keeping a close eye on river levels.
“We had a local response forum in Lancaster and drafted in people from right across the country.
From this point onwards we’re pulling together teams of asset inspectors and from that we’ll pull together a programme of repairs and a team of community support officers to find out what happened and where. It helps us improve our responses and come up with a plan to reduce the risk of it happening again.”
Me Meller said the sheer volume of rainfall over the week, coupled with the wettest November for years, meant the water had nowhere to go but over land.
He said: “We definitely need to consider the fact that these events are becoming more frequent.
“But it could be that we’ve had three or four events over the last 10 years and that will be it for quite some time. We just don’t know.”
In South Lakeland, MP Tim Farron has called on second-home owners in the area to show solidarity with local people and offer their homes to those in need.
1400 homes were flooded and South Lakeland has a very high rate of second home ownership.
Mr Farron has called for these to be put to use in housing those who have been forced to evacuate their homes due to flooding.
Tim said: “It’s awful to see the destruction which the flooding has caused, particularly for those who have lost their homes.
“This is now an opportunity for those who own second homes in South Lakeland to show solidarity with local people, and offer refuge to those whose homes have been destroyed by the floods.”
Anyone willing to offer their second home to house those in need should contact either SLDC or Tim Farron’s office, via email at email@example.com.