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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Major award for Keswick flood defence project

A £24 million flood defence project has been praised for transforming a popular tourist trap.

Keswick flood defences photo
Lord Chris Smith meets members of Keswick Flood Action Group and the Environment Agency in April 2012

The scheme, which has protected Keswick from future flooding and improved water quality at nearby Bassenthwaite Lake, has scooped a top award.

Judges from The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North West hailed the three-year project.

The town has been hit by flooding from rivers, surface water and foul sewer in recent years. Communities were left devastated by severe flooding in 2009.

But the defences aim to protect Keswick and alleviate foul flooding, and five properties have since been taken off the flooding register.

The scheme also stops unscreened sewage from being discharged into the River Greta during storms.

Water quality at Bassenthwaite Lake has also been improved after high levels of phosphate were previously recorded in its catchment.

A new sewer network was installed in the town centre and there have been major improvements to the wastewater treatment works, helping prevent sewers from flooding in Elliot Park.

The massive flood defence project featured new outfall in the River Derwent and a new combined storm storage tank, pumping station and powered screen.

It also included a new combined control building and £100,000 youth centre.

The scheme has landed the North West Civil Engineering Community Award 2014.

ICE North West praised it for increasing treatment capacity at the wastewater treatment works by two-thirds, doubling pumping station capacity by moving the amenity to a new site, and for the sewer improvements.

Regional director Alan Butler said it had brought an array of benefits to a popular visitor destination.

“The project focused on three distinct areas of work, which have combined to bring about a positive impact on the quality of life for the town’s communities, including a new youth centre,” he explained.

“The judges were also impressed by the willingness of the contractors to assist Greta Pre-School with their relocation and undertaking refurbishment works on their behalf – a nice touch.”

Several technical issues also had to be overcome during the creation of the scheme.

In securing the gong, the project beat off stiff competition from other schemes at the gala awards night at Chester Racecourse.

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