Dr Thérèse Coffey visited the city to mark the start of work on the Environment Agency’s Humber: Hull Frontage Flood Defence Improvements.
The £42 million investment in the city will see the height of defences raised along more than 4 miles of the Humber foreshore from St Andrew’s Quay and Victoria Dock Village.
Led by the Environment Minister, the scheme will better protect 113,000 properties from tidal flooding, providing a 1 in 200 year standard of protection.
Environment Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey said:
I am pleased to be in Hull to launch the government-funded £42 million Humber: Hull Frontage Flood Defence Improvement scheme.
Flooding and coastal erosion can have awful consequences for people, businesses and the environment, which is why Defra has invested £153 million in improving flood defences in Hull and East Yorkshire since 2010. I look forward to seeing work continue to ensure coastal communities are better protected, not abandoned.
The Minister met representatives from partner organisations, including Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Yorkshire Water and Highways England, at an event at Hull City Hall to mark the launch.
She was then given a brief tour of the city, before being shown the Hull tidal barrier and areas of work, including Victoria Dock Village, where the Minister cut the first piece of turf to get the scheme underway.
Neil Longden, Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
We are thrilled that we are now on the ground and construction work has started on the Humber: Hull Frontage Flood Defence Improvement scheme.
It was a pleasure to show the Minister this important flood defence project and explain other flood alleviation work being done in the city and in East Yorkshire.
The design of the flood defences will include some areas of glass panels to maintain a view of the waterfront and recessed sections to display artistic works. This will create opportunities for public art and community involvement at areas including Victoria Dock Village and St Andrew’s Quay Retail Park.
In her speech to stakeholders at Hull City Hall in the morning, the Minister announced that Highways England had just confirmed it was contributing £2 million towards the scheme.
Richard Marshall, Regional Director at Highways England, said:
We are delighted to be contributing £2 million to the flood defence scheme, which provides invaluable protection for thousands of homes and businesses in Hull. This will improve safety and offer peace of mind in a city that has been devastated by flooding in the recent past.
The grant comes from our Designated Funds, one aspect being to deliver environmental benefits to those living and working alongside our roads. The fund empowers us to improve resilience to flooding and reduce flooding risks, and improve water quality.
The scheme was approved by Hull’s planning chiefs on the 5 December last year – the fifth anniversary of the tidal surge that caused devastation to the city. It was then given final sign off by the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government just before Christmas.
Councillor Daren Hale, Deputy Leader of Hull City Council, said:
We were delighted to be able to welcome the Minister to Hull so that we could show her the physical change in flood infrastructure that the city has developed over the past few years, whilst highlighting how crucial it is to invest in flood defences for Hull and the surrounding area.
Our dedicated flood risk team has been absolutely instrumental in understanding the risks posed to Hull, and has worked closely with the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and the East Riding of Yorkshire in a combined effort to try and address the real threat of flooding, as proactively as possible.
This investment will ensure Hull can continue to play its role as a strategic economic driver for the Humber region.
The scheme will be delivered by contractor BMM JV – a joint venture between BAM Nuttall and Mott MacDonald - and is expected to be completed by March 2021.
Allan Rogers, Framework Director for BMMJV said:
Having a role in this significant flood alleviation scheme is inspiring for our teams. We are delighted to be at the heart of the design and efficient delivery of schemes through water engineering and management (WEM), and contributing to the Environment Agency’s target of protecting homes and businesses across England.
This £42 million investment links to a further £16 million investment in tidal flood defences either side of Hull at Paull and Hessle, which is being delivered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Both the Humber Hull Frontage and work by East Riding of Yorkshire Council at Hessle and Paull are part of a number of tidal flood alleviation projects that form part of the Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy.
The Environment Agency and local partners are now in the process of developing an advanced approach to managing flooding in tidal areas by the River Humber for the next 100 years.
This long-term investment will contribute to securing the viability of Hull and the wider Humber region, ensuring it retains its place as a major contributor to the UK economy.
In addition to the work on the Humber frontage, more than £100 million is being invested in river and surface water flooding in Hull and the surrounding area.