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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

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Flash flood threat to 60 Cumbrian communities

More than 60 Cumbrian communities are living under the threat of flash flooding – double the number in the rest of the entire north west region.

Cockermouth river photo
The River Cocker rises around Brewery Bridge, Cockermouth, in June

Following high-profile problems across the area, the Environment Agency has compiled a new list of the areas most at risk – potentially affecting thousands of people.

It includes almost 20 communities in the west of the county, including those along the coast and in the Egremont, Cleator Moor, Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick areas.

A total of 99 areas are identified, 67 across Cumbria and a further 32 in Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

The agency says not every property in these communities will be at risk. However it stresses that it is important everyone in the area is aware of the dangers and ensures they are prepared for it to hit at anytime.

A spokesman said flash flooding is caused by intense rainfall. It occurs suddenly with little or no warning – often before emergency services have time to arrive.

It tends to happen when heavy rainfall runs off land and quickly swells rivers and streams, and can also occur where drainage systems are overwhelmed. One of the most recent examples was in August this year, when flash flooding hit parts of west Cumbria. About 80 homes and businesses in the Egremont area were damaged when heavy rain flooded a nearby beck and drains could no longer cope.

Earlier this month there were also problems in Whitehaven town centre and in other surrounding areas, while surface water also caused problems around Carlisle.

Following a detailed study to identify the areas most at risk, the agency is contacting householders and business owners that could be affected. Information leaflets about preparing for flooding are also being distributed.

Mark Garratt, its flood and coastal risk manager, said: “Knowing your flood risk is the first step to protecting your family and property. Once you know the risks, you can put measures in place to stay safe.”

For information and advice go to www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood or call 03708 506 506.

Areas at risk include:
Bassenthwaite – Halls Beck and Chapel Beck
Braithwaite – Coledale Beck
Caldbeck – Gill Beck/Whelpo Beck/Cald Beck/Bowten Beck
Cockermouth – Rivers Derwent & Cocker
Keswick – River Greta
Keswick – Cuddy Beck
Rosthwaite, Borrowdale – Stonethwaite Beck
Seatoller, Borrowdale – Hause Gill
Ullock – River Marron
Stockdalewath, Raughton Head – River Roe
Hartley, Kirkby Stephen – Hartley Beck
Warcop – Crooks Beck
Appleby-in-Westmorland – River Eden
Bolton – River Eden
Crosby Ravensworth – Lyvennet and Dalebanks Beck
Drybeck, near Appleby – Drybeck
Great Ormside, near Appleby – River Eden
Kirkby Thore – Troutbeck
Maulds Meaburn, near Crosby Ravensworth – Lyvennet Beck
Glenridding – Glenridding Beck
Patterdale – Grisedale Beck
Penrith – Thacka Beck
Bampton Grange & Bampton – Haweswater Beck
Eamont Bridge – River Eamont
Greystoke – North Petteril Beck
Newton Reigny, Penrith – River Petteril
Highbridge (near Ivegill) – River Roe
Millhouse, near Hesket Newmarket – River Caldew

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