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Northampton residents demand total flood defence

News

NORTHAMPTON residents are this week demanding that a flood storage scheme designed to protect two new flood plain developments be beefed up to provide protection for the entire town.

Residents' action group the Nene Flood Prevention Alliance (NFPA) wants the Environment Agency to build a 2.5Mm 3storage lake, almost 50 times larger than existing plans for a dry lake to protect the flood plain developments.

The Agency has said long term plans for Northampton would include a large flood water storage facility but that this would not be required for at least another 50 years.

But NFPA is concerned that any further development on the flood plain will increase the flood risk faster.

'The dry bunded area currently proposed by the Environment Agency will go nowhere to replace 80% of flood plain which is being lost to development, ' said NFPA member David Hugheston-Roberts.

Northampton Borough Council upgraded its existing flood defences in 2000 after major flooding in Easter 1998 which forced 10,000 residents to be evacuated.

But Environment Agency area flood defence manager Andy Baxendale explained this week that a shortage of funds had precluded provision of downstream storage in the original works.

Work had involved straightening the river channel to improve its capacity in the town, and raising floodwalls and embankments.

But the scheme was criticised last year by past ICE president George Fleming in a report commissioned by Northamptonshire County Council. He said it did not provide any storage to cope with increased flows resulting from raising the level of Northampton's defences.

'We've probably now maximised the hydraulics of the channel and how much water can pass through the town. So future schemes will need flood storage, ' admitted Baxendale.

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