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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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North Cumbria flood villages get £10,000 to find solutions

A pioneering community group has secured a £10,000 grant as part of its efforts to protect villages from freak flooding.

Stockdalewath flood photo
The Roe beck in flood in May 2013

The Roe Catchment Community Water Management Group (RCCWMG) was set up in the wake of flash flooding in May last year, which swept through the villages of Highbridge and Stockdalewath, near Dalston. Up to a dozen homes filled with water up to 4ft high.

All but one of the residents have now returned home, but the community has united – and been backed by villagers in surrounding hamlets such as Raughton Head – in their efforts to protect themselves in the future. River clearance action groups have chopped and removed dozens of trees and fallen vegetation from both within the river Roe and along its banks.

The group recently registered as a charity, to help fund it work, and has also formed a committee which is working closely with the Environment Agency and councils to look at long-term solutions.

The Environment Agency recently agreed a £10,000 grant to RCCWMG to carry out a catchment survey looking at where the water comes from and potential points where it could be stopped.

Dalston parish council has also granted £1,000 to support river clearance works.

Andy Brown, flood and coastal risk manager for the Environment Agency in Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the community in the Roe & Ive catchments with the delivery of a catchment study, to identify effective ways of reducing their risk of flash flooding.

“The communities have suffered badly on a number of occasions and we are keen to support them in taking control and finding long-term solutions to flooding.”

Ian Irving, one of the leading members of the flood action group, said: “This investment by the Environment Agency is really welcome. It recognises the value of our collaborative approach with all organisations involved in flood alleviation and takes us one step closer towards our goal of being a more resilient community free from the risk of flooding in the future.”

Mr Irving added: “Everyone is excited about the way in which things are progressing.”

Vet David Black is chairman of the group.

He said: “[Carlisle MP] John Stevenson has secured us a meeting with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) in Westminster next month, to explain our project and how these activities might mitigate future insurance claims.”

Regular surveys of the river and potentially hazardous trees are also carried out regularly, and a community resilience plan is in the process of being created.

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