Sustainable flood defences from the UK - Business Works
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Sustainable flood defences from the UK

Frank Kelly, CEO and Sarah Vaughan, MD, UK Flood Barriers Cockermouth has been victim to some of the most voracious flooding events in recent history, most memorably in 2009 when the Rivers Derwent and Cocker both broke their banks after a record 314mm (12.3 inches) of rainwater fell in just 24 hours. Water levels subsequently rose 2.5 metres (8ft 2in) and river flow reached 20 knots, resulting in over £200 million worth of damage to homes, possessions and businesses in the area. Whilst the severity of these floods was unprecedented and estimated to be a one-in-450 year occurrence, a new flood defence scheme has been chosen as the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable solution to provide protection for a 'one-in-100-year event'.

In the end, UK Flood Barriers (UKFB), a leading provider of sustainable, passive flood solutions has been chosen by the Environment Agency to provide a self-closing flood barrier as part of their scheme to reduce the risk of flooding in Cockermouth. The scheme, afforded planning consent earlier in the year by Allerdale Borough Council, encompasses a number of flood protection solutions, including the pioneering 'SCFB' flood defence system from UKFB which offers maximum protection that is cost effective, yet sustainable.

UK Flood Barrier

This scheme is a landmark for UKFB as it is the first time the SCFB has been specified by the Environment Agency in a project to protect a community in the UK. The system is part of its self-closing flood barrier range and is a permanently and invisibly-installed passive flood defence system that automatically rises using the power of the approaching flood water, therefore requiring no human intervention or power source to deploy. Situated in-front of the existing flood wall, the SCFB will be tailor-made to meet the exacting requirements of the project and implemented along 120 linear metres of the riverbank of the River Cocker. When deployed, it will rise to one metre, offering an additional half metre of protection above the wall.

Keith Roddy, Environment Agency Project Manager commented, "The people of Cockermouth presented the Environment Agency with two challenges when we started designing their flood risk management scheme they wanted us to reduce the risk of flooding to their homes and businesses and they wanted us to maintain the heritage of this beautiful market town."

UK Flood Barrier

"The system will allow us to provide increased protection when the river is in flood, but maintains the river views for residents and tourists and maintains the connection people have with this stretch of river. The barrier will complement the overall scheme, which is using a series of embankments, walls and gates to reduce the risk of flooding to 360 homes and 55 businesses in Cockermouth and we look forward to seeing it in place."

"Our SCFB passive flood system is undoubtedly the most effective product of its kind, not only for its ability to provide maximum protection, but to do so with minimum impact on the surroundings, and at a reasonable cost," said Frank Kelly, CEO of UKFB. "The product has been deployed successfully across the world, including projects in ROI, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, the USA and Australia and were thrilled that it has finally been specified in a government-funded project in the UK, where we manufacture our products."

"The system offers unrivalled strength, reinforced by Kevlar, and will stand up to high level flood debris impact, unlike some other forms of flood defences" continued Frank. "Under normal water level conditions, it is virtually invisible which helps to avoid disruption to the aesthetic appeal of the area, which is essential for a region of the country celebrated for its beauty. It offers a sustainable solution and Im sure that this will be the first of many future contracts, once the EA see the SCFB in action."

The installation will commence this month (September 2012). For more information, please visit:

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