On Thursday 22 August Mayor of Wyre Councillor Ann Turner was present at the opening of the Kirkland flood embankment in Churchtown, a community designed and constructed embankment supported by United Utilities, the Community Foundation for Lancashire, Wyre Council and the Environment Agency through Grant in Aid (GiA) funding from DEFRA.
The embankment was opened officially by Lord Shuttleworth, Chairman of the Community Foundation for Lancashire, an organisation which also provided funding for the project.
This is the first main river embankment constructed by a community group in the UK. Churchtown Flood Action Group organised the construction and design of the scheme, sourced materials from local farmers and employed a local firm to construct the embankment. The group has overseen the whole project over the last 18 months, project managed by the chair of the group Roger Weatherell.
Churchtown Flood Action Group was set up following floods in 2015 and 2016 which affected many families in local community. Flood action groups such as this are community based and work with the local authority and agencies to find ways to improve flood resilience and raise awareness of flood risk to the wider community.
Wyre Council has worked with Churchtown Flood Action group since it was set up bringing together relevant partners through the Wyre Flood Forum a group which meets every three months at Wyre’s Civic Centre. The council has provided the group with resilience grants and products including sandbag bins and pumps and has assisted with this scheme by providing technical advice, as well as applying for funding on behalf of the group.
Councillor Roger Berry, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services and Community Safety at Wyre Council comments, “It’s amazing to see what a community can achieve when they work together. This is a great move forward for improving flood protection for the residents of Churchtown.
“We’ve seen many Flood Action Groups come together to share messages, ideas for flood resilience and weather warnings. I’d advise anyone concerned about flooding in their area to look at joining one of the existing groups or to contact the council if you would like to set one up for where you live.”
There are several flood groups set up in Wyre. To join one in your community or to find out more go to www.wyre.gov.uk/flooding