£2.7m scheme for Hornsea Mere to help reduce flooding

Date
Mon, 18 Jul 2022
Article

A £2.7m project is to be carried out at Hornsea Mere to reduce flooding and improve water quality at the site.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council has secured the funding for the go-ahead of the Hornsea Mere Water Level and Water Quality Scheme.

Hornsea has suffered from multiple flood events over the past 15 years, most notably in 2007, 2012 and 2019.

The scheme aims to mitigate this risk and reduce the risk of flooding caused by future severe rainfall events.

The project will see the construction of two wetland lagoons along Foss Dyke, which will store flood water during periods of intense rainfall to reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses in the town.

Work is due to begin in early 2024.

In addition to the flood risk benefits, the scheme is also aimed at improving water quality to both the Mere and downstream watercourses through the sensitive design of the constructed wetlands.

This will create new habitat, improve local biodiversity at the site and enhance the environment at the Mere, which is a key local visitor attraction.

The council has already carried out a comprehensive technical study which included flood risk and innovative water quality modelling.

Following the submission of a business case, the scheme has been awarded £2.7m of Flood Defence Grant in Aid funding from Defra, administered by the Environment Agency. This is in addition to contributions from both East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Natural England towards the feasibility study.

For the next stage, the council will engage with key project partners and the local community as part of the development of the scheme and the detailed design process.

Subject to planning permission and obtaining the necessary permissions and consents, it is expected construction will begin in early 2024.

Hornsea Mere is the largest freshwater lake in Yorkshire and is privately owned - by the Wassand Estate - but it is a public amenity and flooding has badly affected the town.

The Mere is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Protection Area, and all designs and construction will meet special sensitive standards.

Climate predictions suggest that flood events, such as the ones experienced previously in Hornsea, are likely to happen more often in the future.

Councillor Chris Matthews, the council's portfolio holder for environment and climate change said: "This is another example of a fantastic flood scheme to be delivered by the council.

"I am especially encouraged that the scheme will provide additional environmental enhancements to improve water quality and biodiversity at the Mere.

"Once complete, the scheme will reduce flood risk to many properties in Hornsea and I look forward to seeing the scheme progress over the coming years."

The Hornsea Mere project is the latest of the council's £100m programme of flood alleviation schemes to be built since 2015, which have reduced flood risk to around 25,000 properties.

This includes the successful completion of some of the largest surface water flood alleviation schemes in the country.

Dean Hamblin, flood and coastal risk management senior advisor at the Environment Agency said: "It's great to see the progression of another project that will better protect homes and businesses in the East Riding.

"This forms part of significant ongoing investment in flood schemes across Yorkshire and the Humber, with over half a billion pounds invested since 2015 - more than any other part of the country.

"In addition to reducing flood risk associated with Foss Dyke, this innovative scheme will also deliver water quality improvements to Hornsea Mere, and increase biodiversity in the area through the creation of additional wetland habitats.

"This clearly demonstrates that working with natural processes and using natural flood management measures can be an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable way of delivering multiple outcomes and benefits."

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