Vital tidal flood defence scheme complete, making city more resilient to sea level rise
(News release Environment Agency:) 24 March 2021 - A major flood alleviation scheme to improve protection against climate change and sea level rise has reached its target of better protecting thousands of homes in Hull.
- Humber: Hull Frontages Flood Defence Improvements Scheme better protects city from climate change and sea level rise
- Scheme has played a major role in enabling the Environment Agency to reach its 300,000 homes better protected from flooding target
- Scheme is part of £200 million investment in flood risk management across Hull and East Yorkshire
Residents in 113,000 local homes are now better protected from flooding as the Environment Agency’s £42 million Humber: Hull Frontages Flood Defence Improvements Scheme comes to fruition.
The new, higher defences, delivered by the Environment Agency in collaboration with contractors BAM Nuttall and Mott Macdonald (BMMJV), along the estuary foreshore are now in place, ready to protect the city from tidal surges.
The scheme has been key in enabling the Environment Agency to meet its ambitious target of protecting 300,000 homes from flooding across England.
Gareth Farrier, Divisional Director at BAM Nuttall, said: ‘BAM Nuttall and Mott Macdonald (BMMJV) are proud to have been able to support the Environment Agency in achieving such an outstanding level of flood protection for the people of Hull and the surrounding areas. We’d like to especially thank the residents and businesses affected by our works for their patience and support that has allowed us to plan and manage our works effectively through the particularly challenging circumstances of the last 12 months.’
Helen Tattersdale, Environment Agency project manager on the scheme, said: ‘We’re thrilled that we have reached this milestone. It’s a fantastic achievement and I’m very proud of what has been accomplished. Climate change is one of the biggest global threats we face, and intense storms are becoming more frequent. Sea level rise on the Humber in the next 100 years is likely to be in excess of one metre. The work we have now completed will better protect properties in Hull from the increasing threat of flooding.’
The flood defences stretch along more than four miles (7km) of shoreline from St Andrew’s Quay Retail Park in the west to Victoria Dock Village in the east. As well as protecting homes, the work also protects major businesses in the city, such as Smith & Nephew, and makes the city more attractive to investment.
Rachel Glossop, Hull City Council, Flood Risk Planning Manager, said: ‘Hull is a city built on and around water. The Humber: Hull Frontages scheme is an excellent example of the infrastructure the city relies on. The scheme achieves a high level of flood alleviation while also ensuring the important cultural, heritage and amenity link to the estuary is retained.’
The scheme covers commercial, industrial, as well as residential areas, and the tidal flood defences have been designed to be sympathetic to their surroundings.
Working with Hull City Council, the Environment Agency used materials and a colour palette to blend the new defences into the existing landscape. This was particularly important within the residential areas and those of cultural significance to the city of Hull.
Work along the stretch covering St Andrew’s Quay has included a section in the shape of a boat hull which will incorporate the STAND memorial to lost trawlermen, expected to be placed in position later this year.
In other areas of the scheme, the inclusion of glazed panels into the flood walls at several locations maintains estuary views from the footpaths running parallel to the estuary which form part of the popular Trans Pennine Trail, as well as from homes at Victoria Dock Village.
The scheme was made possible through a £3 million contribution from Highways England.
Richard Marshall, Highways England regional director for Yorkshire and the North East, said: ‘We are delighted to support the Environment Agency with a £3 million contribution to this scheme. It’s fantastic to see the project is now complete, offering protection for homes and businesses as well as the A63 and A1033, reducing the risk of closures and flooding-related disruption on our roads.’
The schemes links in with other flood defence improvements along the Humber being carried out by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
In the past 75 years, there have been three major tidal surge flooding incidents in Hull (1953, 1969 and 2013), the latest in December 2013 when 264 properties were flooded when the defences were overtopped. During high spring tides, water levels in the estuary have the potential to rise by around one to three metres above some parts of the city, higher than the previous defences.
Work will continue over the next few months to complete landscaping and the aesthetic details of the scheme, including in the Victoria Pier area, with all public areas and footpaths expected to be reopened by late spring.
The work fits in with the aims of the Living with Water partnership.
Lee Pitcher, of Living with Water, said: ‘Our holistic vision of a blue/green city means that as a partnership we understand the importance of providing the critical engineering solution of the frontage scheme, but we also need to look towards a natural solution around the real threat of surface water flooding which the city suffers from too. Having a strong partnership that can address all forms of flood risk, means together we are building resilience from every type of flood risk, making our region thrive in the future.’
For more details about Humber: Hull Frontages Flood Defence Improvements Scheme, go to https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/yorkshire/humber-hull-frontages/
In the last six years the Environment Agency and its partners have invested more than £200 million on flood management work to reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses in East Yorkshire and Hull. As well as the Humber: Hull Frontages, there are two other major flood risk management schemes in Hull: River Hull Defences Scheme and the Holderness Drain Flood Alleviation Scheme. East Riding of Yorkshire Council have recently finished its vital flood storage lagoons schemes.
Further comments on EA reaching 300,000 homes better protected from flooding target
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: ‘The success of this programme is measured in numbers 700 projects, 300,000 homes, nearly 600,000 acres of agricultural land, thousands of businesses and major pieces of infrastructure, on time and within budget. But the sense of security these protections bring to people, and the benefits to nature, can’t easily be demonstrated on a spreadsheet. With the COP26 climate talks coming to Glasgow this year, this programme is a fantastic example of adaptation in action, but there’s a lot more to do.’
Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: ‘I pay tribute to our skilled teams and our partners who have worked so hard to achieve this – it’s not easy to bring major infrastructure projects in on time and on budget. The Environment Agency’s six year flood defence building programme has done exactly that, better protecting 300,000 homes against the damage and misery of flooding. The climate emergency is bringing more extreme weather, so we must now redouble our efforts to make our communities more resilient in future.’
George Eustice, Environment Secretary, said: ‘This important milestone means that 300,000 households are better protected against flooding and coastal erosion. I commend the hard work of the Environment Agency and its partners in supporting flood-hit communities. We know there is more to do, which is why a record £5.2 billion is being invested in 2,000 new flood and coastal erosion schemes over the next six years, to protect thousands more people, homes and businesses.’
About the Environment Agency
The Environment Agency was established in 1996 to protect and improve the environment. Within England, the Environment Agency is responsible for managing the risk of flooding from main rivers, reservoirs, estuaries and the sea.
The Environment Agency’s priorities are to:
- Work with businesses and other organisations to manage the use of resources
- Increase the resilience of people, property and businesses to the risks of flooding and coastal erosion
- Protect and improving water, land and biodiversity
- Improve the way we work as a regulator to protect people and the environment and support sustainable growth