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Lancaster wall to ‘cut flood risk to 1 in 100’

Floods on Caton Road after Storm Desmond.
Floods on Caton Road after Storm Desmond.
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More than 100 businesses and 20 homes will have their flood risk cut from one in five to one in 100 if Luneside defence plans go ahead.

This 20 per cent chance of flooding in any given year between Halton Weir and Skerton Bridge would be reduced if a concrete wall is built on the left bank of the Lune, says a Lancaster City Council report.

The £9.4m flood defence project – to protect Caton Road between the motorway slip road and Skerton Bridge – has been delayed due to a £1.7m funding shortfall, as reported in the Guardian earlier this year.

The report says the proposed wall would protect 102 businesses on the Riverside, Lansil and Caton Road industrial estates, 20 homes on the right bank of the river, and a further 69 homes in Halton could also be brought into the scheme to ensure the proposed defences will not increase their flood risk.

Lancaster City Council cabinet will meet next Tuesday (December 5) for talks on the plans.

Caton Road businesses suffered major damage in the Storm Desmond floods of December 2015.

One firm’s insurance claim cost £11m, says a Lancaster City Council report.

Many companies are continuing without full or any insurance, are self-insuring or are looking to relocate.

The report says floods in this area are caused when high tides coincide with high flows on the River Lune and lead to overtopping.

It says the project will safeguard more than 2,000 full time equivalent jobs providing £37.3m to the economy over 100 years and has the potential to deliver 28.2 hectares of river and bank habitat improvement.

Experts predict that flood water levels within Riverside and Lansil industrial estates may increase by 0.4m by 2100 as a result of climate change.

The Environment Agency is investigating separate flood defence measures in Lancaster city centre.

They are also looking at a possible project to focus on Halton.

At next Tuesday’s meeting, the city council cabinet will be asked to formally accept a £2m grant from the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

Around £200,000 would be used for design development work on the Caton Road scheme.

They are also being asked to accept £2.6m from the Environment Agency and an application is also going in for £3.1m of European cash.

This must be done by March 2019.

Council officers are also working with major Caton Road business hoping to secure private funding contributions and also look at other ways to fund the remaining £1.7m.

Meanwhile the Electricity North West substation which was flooded during Storm Desmond causing power cuts to 55,000 properties has been protected by a multi-million pound scheme.

A plan to take an electricity cable down the length of Caton Road is expected to further reinforce the network.