Press release

Pump deployed to assist flood relief effort in Cumbria

Highways England has contributed to efforts by emergency services to help clear water in Carlisle after the region was hit by devastating floods.

This news article was withdrawn on

This document is no longer current


This news item is not being updated. Read Winter flooding 2015: community support for current information.

The high-volume pump, operated by Highways England, was one of the first on the scene in the North West following an initial request from the government’s National Resilience team on Saturday (December 5) when Storm Desmond hit northern England.

It was deployed to Warwick Road in Carlisle, following a request from the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, where contractors working on behalf of Highways England cleared more than 1 million litres of water from the area – the equivalent of an Olympic size swimming pool.

The team cleared 3,000 litres of water per minute for around 7 hours in challenging weather conditions and darkness after a power failure in the area due to the storm.

After clearing the road of water by pumping it into the nearby River Petteril, the team stayed on site to clear gulleys and drainage systems of excess water before leaving the scene earlier on today (Wednesday 9 December).

Andrew Charnick, emergency planning officer for Highways England in the North, said:

I am immensely proud that Highways England was able to assist with the flood relief effort in Cumbria. Over the past few days our team has worked around the clock with other agencies and in very challenging conditions to clear the area of flood water.

Highways England is the only authority apart from the fire service to own a high volume pump of this type. Located at Bradbury in Yorkshire, the pump has to be operated by a specially trained team. It can be set up in less than an hour to clear thousands of litres of water from flooded areas and can be deployed by Highways England anywhere in the UK in the event of severe flooding.

The A69 near Carlisle reopened yesterday (Tuesday 8 December) following flooding at Warwick Bridge.

Live traffic information is available on Highways England’s website and mobile app.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 10 December 2015