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Passive Flood Defence Barrier helps to minimise flood damage in Cockermouth

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Storm Desmond caused widespread flooding across Cumbria and Lancashire over the weekend, with rainfall reaching a record high – 13.4inches of rain fell in 24 hours in Honister, Cumbria, on Saturday 5 December.

While the floods have affected an estimated 5,200 homes and more than 43,000 homes have suffered from powercuts 43,000 homes have suffered from power cuts, we were glad to hear our Passive Flood Defence Barrier, which was designed and installed in Cockermouth in 2013, proved invaluable to residents over the past week, keeping damage to a minimum.

Could have been so much worse @UKFloodBarriers defences at Cockermouth worked, without them we would have suffered horrendous damage again.

Chris Freer - @freerimages
Photographer & Cockermouth Resident

Peter Gibson, resident of Rubby Banks Road, told our Technical Director Tom Jarratt (both pictured on the right), “In 2009 we had 4.5 feet of water in our house – this time we didn’t have any – this is due to the barriers”.

Mike and Muriel Conway, who also live on Rubby Banks Road told us; “We were spared. We were very lucky – the faster

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the river came up, the faster the barrier rose. About 6pm on Saturday the barrier was rising and people were being evacuated.  The river water was high up on the barrier but still had some way to go before it reached the top of the barrier. The water in the road was coming from upstream above Victoria Bridge. When we came back [to our house after the evacuation] we could see that we hadn’t been flooded – the water hadn’t come over [the barrier]. The Environment Agency and you as the engineers have done a good job – we’ve been spared”. Muriel has had a major operation for cancer and to not have a flood on top of her health issues and Christmas was a great relief.

Other residents also said to us: “This barrier saved every property on Rubby Banks Road.  My mother-in-law had no water in. I think it had a knock-on effect on the main street.  It would have been a lot worse without it.  I am just pleased it worked” and “the barriers worked perfectly”.

Owner of The Toy Shop on Main Street also got in touch with us to say "On 5/12/2015 we had just short of two foot of water in our shop. The fact that it was not five and a half foot of mud filled water as in 2009 is entirely due to the success of your 'self raising flood barriers' on Rubby Banks Road, which contained the force of the River Cocker despite its being even more in flood than 2009 and raging with the awesome force of water flowing down it. Our heartfelt thanks to you all".

The barrier has been inspected following the flooding of 4th/5th December and is undamaged, and in full working order.

The 115 linear metre passive flood barrier is installed along the River Cocker and is designed to rise automatically as the floodwater approaches.  Whilst other flood defences can fail when water levels are simply too high causing them to ‘overtop’, the worst of the flooding can be prevented and people are given more time to evacuate and secure their belongings.

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A close up of the SAFB
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UK Flood Partnership
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