Leicester born Sir James Bevan, the Environment Agency’s chief executive, visited the city last week (Friday, 15 April) to see the work being done to reduce flood risk across the area.
The visit involved a tour of the Leicester Flood Risk Management Scheme, a joint project funded between the Environment Agency and Leicester City Council, which is now entering into the third phase of development.
The £7 million scheme is split into 3 phases and will ultimately reduce flood risk to approximately 4,700 properties in the city of Leicester through a series of flow improvements along the River Soar. This 3-phase project is a key part of a wider programme of works being developed for Leicester (Leicester Flood Risk Management Strategy) with over £31 million earmarked for potential flood management schemes over the next few years.
Leicester City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby and Assistant City Mayor, Councillor Adam Clarke also joined Sir James on the tour of the scheme.
Following the visit, Sir James said,
One of the Environment Agency’s key roles is to reduce the risk of flooding to people and property, and my visit to see the Leicester Flood Risk Management Scheme provided me with the opportunity to see just how committed our local staff are to achieving that.
This innovative scheme is a great example of how through partnership working, flood risk can be reduced in an urban area to protect homes and businesses, whilst achieving benefits for the environment and locally community”.
Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said:
The Environment Agency’s investment in Leicester is essential to the city’s flood prevention work. It also gives us the chance to improve our riverside areas and make them more attractive to visitors.
The River Soar is a wonderful riverside habitat, and by working with the Environment Agency we’re making the most of this natural asset as part of a major programme of work to tackle flood risks facing the city.
As part of the phase 2 developments, a new wetland habitat has been created at the former John Ellis playing fields site in the Abbey Meadows area. A launch day is going to be held in the summer to celebrate the completion of this area to give residents an opportunity to see the benefits of the scheme so far and to find out more information about what’s still to come.
Phase 1 was completed in December 2014 and involved increasing the river flow through the existing flood arches beneath the Great Central Way Biam Bridge by de-silting and making local channel improvements. This phase of the scheme reduced flooding to approximately 250 properties in Braunstone Town and Aylestone.
Phase 2 which is near completion, began in spring 2015 and involved lowering public open spaces to increase the storage capacity of flood plain areas. This phase of the scheme will reduce flood risk to around 1,900 properties and will provide great benefits to people and the environment through the creation of a new wetland habitat at the former John Ellis playing fields site. The wetland habitat will not only attract new wildlife to the city centre but new pathways and cycle routes will provide people with better access across the city centre.
Initial ground investigations have recently taken place as the start of the plans for phase 3 which will involve the construction of floodwater bypass culverts and channels at Loughborough Road and Thurcaston Road bridges to reduce floodwater levels upstream. The third phase will aim to reduce the risk of flooding to over 2,500 properties, particularly in the Belgrave and Abbey Meadows areas.
More information on the Leicester Flood Risk Management Scheme can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/leicester-flood-risk-management-scheme/leicester-flood-risk-management-scheme
You can keep up to date as the scheme develops by following the Environment Agency and Leicester City Council twitter accounts: @EnvAgencyMids @Leicester_News