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Weekly Edition - Published  17 January 2016


Local News Report - Mobile Page


Floods & Cuts

Photo of river Alt and the low lying area by the Formby Trading Estate in December 2015.

FLOODS over the last few weeks of 2015 and the start of 2016 have raised more than a few questions about flood prevention on Merseyside, in the North Sefton area and parts of neighbouring West Lancashire. The area fell under a spending review that had the Environment Agency start an overview of the flood risk in the Alt Crossens catchment area and set out a plan for sustainable flood risk management over the next 50 to 100 years. The Government agency back then said that the £3million a year it spends on flood risk management and land drainage in the Lower Alt and Crossens catchment is no longer sustainable and made this report back in December 2009; please click on here (PDF file). The worry is that parts of this plan which are now to be implemented could result in large parts of the area being flooded, including land that Southport's new Hospital has been built on. Part of the plan that is being put into action as part of long term cost cutting and "better management;" if it still goes ahead as planned, will see the Environment Agency to turn off storm pumps at:-

Banks Marsh.
► Boundary Brook.
► Kew.
► Rufford Causeway.
► Clay Brow.

It is thought these pumps will be shutting down and in the by July 2017, but the recent deluges have led to many more people questioning the move. As the 2017 deadline looms ever closer, both residents and businesses are now increasingly worried that flooding will take place in large sections of the area between the river Alt and Crossens. The area of land between the Alt and the Ribble estuaries has huge sections below sea level. It was once part of an ancient lake, of which the remains now comprise Martin Mere and a few other lakes around the area. Drainage started well before the Doomsday book, but the landscape that we know today was not created until the 1800's making way for farming and then, as time went on, housing. The system we now have in place has been very successful in protecting the large populations of Maghull, Knowsley, Southport, Formby and Ormskirk from flooding events and the lake reforming. But now the removal of these pumps and the increasingly wet conditions and the expansion of the urban community, along with the sudden unprecedented erosion of the coastline has caused this move to be called into question by organisations like the National Farmers Union (NFU)! Back in 2015 modelling preformed by the Environment Agency indicates that if the 5 pumps were no longer operated, there would be no increase in flood risk inside residential properties, but many say that it has not taken the expansion of the urban building and the environmental changes taking place. If these pumps are closed, many land owners fear it will put huge pressure on the drainage system and affect not only the Southport area, but also Maghull and Knowsley, as the increase in ground water would have no way of draining. This, according to many experts, would result in the catchment area of around 39,600 hectares returning to their original marshy state and parts of the lowest lying parts of Alt Crossens area returning to a lake. Without this drainage and pumping system, it could easily reduce the amount of grade 1 farmland available, as well as increase flood risk for large urban areas, that support over 2,500 jobs. Plus the flooding of many home along the way, would bring economic disaster to the area! So are you worried and should you be worried? Many like the NFU say that we should look at what’s happened to Croston, when drainage systems that run off into the River Douglas failed, both in 2012 and more recently in December 2015. Please let us know via emailing us to: -


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Southport Reporter (R) Bourder




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