£3m bid to beat flooding

A £3m scheme to alleviate flooding issues in Lytham has been given the green light.

Saturday, 26th November 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:45 pm
Lytham farmer Andrew Pemberton in one of his flooded pastures

The first phase of works are set to begin next month and will see Liggard Brook dredged and pumps at the Dock Bridge Station, where water is pumped into the Ribble Estuary, improved.

The works are designed to help prevent farmland at the east end of Lytham flooding during heavy rain and the Environment Agency has already put the design and construction work out to tender.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies, who has campaigned for the work to take place after several meetings with farmers, said: “I’m delighted after pushing for these works for some time that the pumps will be upgraded and the brook dredged.

“Farmers have lost the use of fields due to flooding in Lytham for too long, and we identified the silting up of Liggard Brook, and the ageing pumps as a major part of the problem.

“And these works will protect homes in the east end of Lytham from possible extreme weather events.

“Of course, we would have preferred to see these works start in time for this winter, but I am pleased to see progress being made and work has started.”

Lytham farmer Andrew Pemberton, who has expressed major fears over increased flooding, said he was delighted that the work is due to start and hopes they will make a key difference in future years.

He said: “I am pleased that Mark has been able to push our points forward and now that he has his name behind it, I look forward to the work getting underway and there being no more delays to work which is essential for our future.

“It’s too late for this winter, so I hope the elements are kind to us and that this work makes a key difference from next winter.”

Mr Menzies has attended several meetings with farmers and the Environment Agency to discuss their concerns over flooding in the past few years.

The Liggard Brook Scheme was first completed in the late 1990s.

It, and Main Drain, which runs from Weeton through to the Ribble and has several tributaries, are the primary water courses which take flood water away from the town and its surrounding farmland.

Design works for the scheme are being completed now and from next month through to March, the aim is for the pumps at the Dock Bridge station, which are brought into action when water levels in the drain are too high, to be replaced.

Outfall extension works on the estuary side of the pumping station, along with dredging of the brook is expected to be completed by late next summer.

The Environment Agency, which is responsible for the drainage and the works, says it is investigating the use of specialist dredging equipment to support the future maintenance of all the area’s river channels once the works are complete.

Work to reinstate Wrea Brook following reports of flooding during stormy weather, has just been completed.

Mr Pemberton farms 140 acres at Birks Farm, Ballam Road, and says that last winter up to 80 per cent of his land was under water at some stage.

He said: “I still maintain work to improve drainage should have been done years ago and it could have been done for just a fraction of the cost, with just some regular essential maintenance.”