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BSI Kitemark

Cockermouth, Cumbria

FAST FACTS

115

linear metres of passive flood defence installed.

360

homes protected.

19

barriers installed.

55

businesses protected.

THE PROBLEM

A key section of an Environment Agency (EA) and local authority partnership funded flood defence scheme has recently been completed in Cockermouth, Cumbria. The scheme, afforded planning consent in early 2012 by Allerdale Borough Council, encompassed a number of flood protection solutions to protect homes and businesses from flooding. UKFB’s  unique passive flood defence system was specified for a key section of the scheme along Rubby Banks Road to mitigate the risk of flooding to the local community.

Cockermouth has been victim to some of the most voracious flooding events in recent history, most memorably in 2009 when the Rivers Derwent and Cocker both broke their banks after a record 314mm (12.3 inches) of rainwater fell in just 24 hours.

Water levels subsequently rose 2.5 metres and river flow reached 10 m/s, resulting in total damages of £276.5 million, with £129m of this to businesses and the local economy.

The area situated by the River Cocker is designated as a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). The Environment Agency and local residents were looking for not only a cost effective solution, but also one that would not adversely affect the unique landscape. Cockermouth holds much heritage value as a beautiful market town and it was vital to the scheme that this was maintained

The passive self activating barrier will offer protection to over 400 homes and businesses and give the residents a piece of mind for the future. ‘The residents and businesses of Cockermouth have suffered from severe flooding and so I am delighted that they now have a new state-of-the-art flood defence barrier that will better protect them…

Richard Benyon
Secretary of State for the Natural Environment

THE SOLUTION

The first generation passive flood defence system provided a solution which would have little or no aesthetic impact on the environment and has the considerable advantage of not requiring any intervention during a flood warning, which would otherwise put lives at risk, with a design life of 100 years, and requiring minimal maintenance, this system makes a strong economic case too. With zero operational costs the barrier has none of the high on-going expenditure associated with manually operated systems. When not in use the barrier is protected underground and out of site, the river views so important to both residents and tourists would remain unaffected, whilst effective flood protection would be in place ready to deploy 24 hours a day.

Working together with Volker Stevin, UKFB manufactured a tailor-made passive system to meet the requirements of the project. The barrier was implemented along 115 linear metres of the riverbank and designed to rise in one singular continuous motion.  On deployment the system rises to 1 metre, providing the required one-in-100-year protection above the existing wall.

The system has also been designed with a telemetry device to advise via text or email when the barrier starts to deploy. The device can also be linked to warning beacons, audible warnings and CCTV if required.

UPDATE: DECEMBER 2015 

The barrier helped to minimise flood damage in Cockermouth, as Storm Desmond caused widespread flooding across Cumbria in December 2015.

The barrier was inspected following the flooding, was undamaged and remains in full working order.

Click here to read our news article.

SAFB in Cockermouth December 2015
A close up of the SAFB

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

Rubby Banks Road Resident

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

Chris Freer, Photographer & Cockermouth Resident

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

Peter Gibson, resident of Rubby Banks Road

The barrier got extensive press & TV coverage including BBC Countryfile when 9 million viewers witnessed how the barrier worked so successfully to protect homes in Cockermouth. TV coverage clearly demonstrated how, unlike other ‘reactive’ systems, it wasn’t overtopped or damaged & was back up and running the next day.

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TIMELINE

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OFFICIAL OPENING

Passive flood defence system launch to local community.

June
2013
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PHASE 8

Final stage product testing.

April
2013
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PHASE 7

Barrier in resting position.

March
2013
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PHASE 6

Testing of the barrier.

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PHASE 5

Barrier into position during first stage testing.

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PHASE 4

Floating wall lowered into reinforced concrete basin.

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PHASE 3

Delivery of floating wall to site.

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PHASE 2

Construction of the base and front and rear walls ready for barrier.

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PHASE 1

Team on site preparing for installation of passive flood defence barrier.

February
2013
iso 14001

ISO 14001:2015

ISO 9001

ISO 9001:2008

bsi kitemark

Kitemark Certified Survey & Installation

chas accredited

Chas Accredited

Guarantee Protection through GGFI

Guarantee Protection through GGFI

Contructionline

UK Register of
Pre-qualified construction services

UK Flood Partnership
Business In The Community