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The reservoir reduces flood risk to some properties because of the way it stores water. In late June and early July 2012 Darwen flooded. If the reservoir had not been there more properties would have flooded.
The former owner of Jack’s Key reservoir went into voluntary liquidation in 2005. Since then, the Environment Agency, has used expert engineers to carry out regular inspections at the site. There are no immediate safety risks. But, the reservoir inspecting engineer has recommended that the Environment Agency carries out work to ensure the long term safety of the site.
The programme of works has received planning approval from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
1. Reservoir safety work
The Environment Agency will start upgrading the reservoir in Spring 2014.
Unfortunately, the Environment Agency will need to remove some protected trees. They will be replanting some trees during the works which will they will agree in consultation with the council under a landscaping plan.
The Environment Agency will also be carrying out a survey of protected species. This will make sure that works do not affect the local biodiversity and habitat for wildlife.
2. Construction work
The Environment Agency followed guidance set by Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and listened to feedback from local residents.
The Environment Agency’s preferred option of works involves:
- carrying out stabilisation works to the dam
- building a new tunnel through the dam
- removing the secondary dam downstream of the main dam
- making access improvements for Environment Agency field operatives for routine inspection
- leaving a shallow permanent water feature.
The work will make sure that the reservoir continues to store water during periods of heavy rainfall. With the new design, the reservoir will partially fill with water during heavy rain. It will then slowly empty itself into the River Darwen.
3. Community engagement
The Environment Agency have listened to residents’ concerns and will reduce disruption as much as possible. They will also install a suitable gate to prevent unauthorised vehicles accessing the site.
The Environment Agency has bid for £1 million of funding from Defra to carry out long term safety improvement works next year.
5. Site ownership
An agreement has been reached between the Environment Agency and the Duchy of Lancaster over transferring the ownership of the site. The site will be transferred from the Duchy of Lancaster to the council for a nominal fee. From then on, the council will own the land including the footpaths. There are no plans to sell the land to a third party as the Environment Agency needs to continue to have access to the reservoir for routine inspection and maintenance.
6. Biodiversity and habitats
There is potential for improvements to the existing biodiversity and habitat around the reservoir. There is some grassland at the site that contains orchids and other plant species. There could also be the option of creating footpaths and joining the site to existing rights of way.
If you want to get involved in the Jack’s Key interest group email Councillor David Foster firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please contact Paul Robertshaw on 01925 542420 or by email email@example.com
You can write to Peter by post:
Jack's Key Reservoir Refurbishment works
Richard Fairclough House
PO Box 12, Warrington