Flood defence works underway to protect Chelmsford

Flood defence works underway to protect Chelmsford

Preliminary work is being undertaken in advance of a proposed flood defence scheme in Essex which will help to protect more than 1,200 homes and businesses in Chelmsford from flooding.

The Chelmsford Flood Alleviation Scheme is proposed at Margaretting near Chelmsford. The advance works include passing bays along part of the access route, a temporary 30mph speed limit, pothole repairs , drainage maintenance, and timber bollards around the village green.

The scheme is being jointly funded by Chelmsford City Council, as part of the European funded Floodcom project, and the Environment Agency. The Floodcom funding covers the detailed planning and design of the scheme, project management, and an education programme with nearby Margaretting Church of England Primary School and a partner school in Dunkirk, France.

The scheme is proposed because homes and businesses in central and urban Chelmsford are at high risk from flooding associated with the Rivers Chelmer, Can and Wid. The scheme is the most significant element in a series of projects aimed at delivering enhanced flood protection for the city.

The embankment on the River Wid will hold back flood water, allowing the waters from the Can and Chelmer to stay within their channels and banks for longer. Construction is anticipated to start in the summer.

Chelmsford City Council said one of the main challenges in the project was the amount of time it took to understand the problem and find an appropriate solution in the right location. Strong political leadership and support were key, as was having a clear vision and purpose, and the ability to adapt to changing situations.

Partnership co-operation also played an important role, and working closely with the Environment Agency, both in terms of providing joint funding and negotiating a higher priority for the project, was also beneficial.

The Floodcom initiative is a European-funded project involving five partners across four European countries: from the UK, Essex County Council and Chelmsford City Council; from Belgium, Waterweegen en Zeekanaal NV, in Antwerp; from France IIW, in St Omer; and in the Netherlands, the City of Breda.

Floodcom promotes positive water management in European lowland areas facing climate change. All partners come together in regular meetings to share best practice and the technical learning from their projects.

Floodcom is hosting a conference, "Sharing Best Practice on Flood Alleviation", in Antwerp, Belgium on Wednesday 24th September 2014. Topics covered will include climate change, the social impact of flooding, and responses to flooding. Information about this and other aspects of the Floodcom initiative are available at www.floodcom.eu.

-ENDS-

For further information on Floodcom: Please contact Sue Wilcock at Trebuchet on 01473 213000 or email sue@trebuchetcreative.co.uk;

For further information on the Flood Alleviation Scheme: Please contact Rita Penman or Catherine Burbage at the Environment Agency on 01733 464357.