UK Flood Barriers – Flood Protection Project, Cornwall

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Organisation

UK Flood Barriers, Worcestershire

Partners

Cornwall Council and the Environment Agency

Summary

The severe flooding event in Cornwall in November 2010 was noted as the worst flooding in decades. Flash floods hit in the middle of the night, leaving many people trapped in their homes and cars. In the space of a just few hours, two and a half inches of rain fell. Due to the topography of the area, small picturesque villages were swamped underneath 6ft of water during this period of intense rainfall. Scores of residents had to be rescued by the RAF, police and the fire service in hope of being relocated to emergency accommodation. The intensity of the flash flooding caused major disruption to the region’s infrastructure, and in some villages, properties were subjected to ten inches of water.

Days later when the mopping up operation began, the full extent of the damage was revealed. Village communities had been left scarred by flood levels up to 6ft, mud and rubble brought down by landslides and train services brought to a standstill.

Following these events, Cornwall Council launched their Property Level Protection (PLP) Scheme, which is the biggest that scheme of its kind that has ever been undertaken.

The Council initially employed consultants, Capita Symonds to survey at risk properties and specify the measures required. The specified work was tendered by UK Flood Barriers who were awarded the project. This was partly as a result of their success on other large scale projects and their project management.

The aims

The aim was to deliver bespoke flood mitigation solutions to 157 properties within some of the Cornish villages affected by flash floods in 2010, to protect these households against similar events in the future.

The challenges

  • The buildings in this area are quirky and non-uniform due to the construction methods used in these Cornish villages. The complexity of these rural dwellings and the uncharted service entry points created a lot of unknowns to the fabric of buildings and their drainage networks.
  • There were certain requirements set by Cornwall Council that UK Flood Barriers had to adhere to. As the Council had identified that this was an area where rapid onset flooding was most likely to occur, the EA who funded this scheme specified that where possible, passive flood mitigation measures should be fitted to properties.
  • The Council also specified that UK Flood Barriers engage with a local contractor to undertake as much of the works as possible in order to help boost the local economy.

The solutions

UK Flood Barriers appointed a local contractor to work with on this project. The scheme incorporated a diverse range of elements to accommodate for the non-uniformity of properties. UK Flood Barriers employed a variety of their products to deal with the challenges including Flood Defender barriers and Anti-Flood Airbricks. Additional products and solutions including flood gates and the construction of bund walls also helped to form part of the solution.

Learning points

UK Flood Barriers commented: “In consideration of all the variables that had to be managed and the geographic spread of the properties located across a wide area of Cornwall, this project represented a real challenge, therefore planning was key.”

SWM Comment

This project considered the different requirements of individual properties across varying geographical locations in order to maximise the effectiveness of solutions.  

Contact

For more information, contact Rebecca Brown, or visit the UK Flood Barriers website.