A multi-million pound defence to help protect Catterick Village residents from flooding and keep traffic moving on the A1(m) has been officially opened.
It is the first time Highways England and the Environment Agency have worked together on a jointly-funded flood scheme that will offer better flood protection to the motorway and properties in the area.
In September 2012, the Catterick Village area in North Yorkshire suffered major flooding affecting 130 properties and closing the A1(M) for two days – costing the region’s economy more than £2 million.
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The new flood reservoir, located between Brough Park and the motorways, uses large embankments up to six metres high to hold 91 million gallons of water – equivalent to more than 130 Olympic swimming pools.
The scheme will slow the flow of water through Brough Beck, which previously overflowed in severe weather. This has been managed by putting meanders in the beck and building a control structure incorporating two ‘hydro-brakes’ to control the flow of water.
Five hectares of new habitat have been created, including wetlands, bat habitats, owl nesting and meadowland.
Brown trout are a key feature of Brough Beck and re-routing provides increased fish habitat along the beck.
Once the habitat has become established, the area will be a haven for wildlife and provide a better experience for the public using the local bridleways and paths.
Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, said: “As well as reducing flood risk to local homes and businesses, this flood defence will protect a main traffic artery through Yorkshire which has been affected in recent years.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to get the most benefit from our flood schemes, and by also creating 5 hectares of new habitat, this is a fantastic example of how working together can bring multiple benefits for the local community, economy and environment.”
The bulk of the £6.2m scheme cost has come from a special fund managed by Highways England to tackle environmental issues.
Peter Mumford, Highways England executive director of major projects and capital portfolio management, said: “This area suffered badly due to severe weather in 2012 and the A1 is a vitally important route which supports the UK economy so we must do all we can to keep traffic moving freely along it.
“We’re pleased to have worked with partners on this solution which helps protect the local community and lets drivers have safe journeys.”
Further funding for the scheme came from the Environment Agency (£1m), Local Levy (£412,000) and North Yorkshire County Council (£200,000).
The Environment Agency’s own internal field operations teams delivered the construction work.
The scheme was made possible with support from Highways England, Local Levy and North Yorkshire County Council, Richmondshire District Council, the Parish Council and the local community.
Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for highways, said: “The council is very pleased to have worked in partnership with the Environment Agency and Highways England to bring this important scheme to a successful conclusion.
“This flood storage reservoir will help to protect local residents from flooding and avoid a repeat of the closure of the A1 which occurred in 2012.”
The Catterick flood storage reservoir had its first big test at the start of March after snow melt in the Dales led to flood water coming down the valley.
The reservoir worked as planned and held back the water from the A1(M) and Catterick village, storing it in the newly-created bowl, while slowly letting the water flow back out into Brough Beck at the other side at a speed that alleviated flooding.
At the opening ceremony, partners involved in the project and local residents were given a presentation on the scheme, before being given a tour of the site where an information board featuring artwork by a former Catterick Primary School pupil was installed.