Carlisle’s £25m flood defence works are due to enter a new phase next month, although campaigners maintain the works do not go far enough in addressing the risk to the city.

The second phase of the city’s major new flood defence scheme will begin in August, and will involve both the construction of new and the improvement of existing flood defences in the Bitts Park area.

To allow the works to happen, the Bitts Park car park will be closed from Tuesday, August 4 until March 31, 2021.

The flood defence works have been described by Carlisle Flood Action Group chairman John Kelsall as "not going far enough" in addressing the true scale of the risk posed by the River Eden.

“Environment Agency flood relief work tends to focus on a particular hotspot,” he said.

“What we want to see happen is a total system appraisal of the whole of the water course, the whole of the catchment.

“We can’t solve flooding issues by just jumping in and doing one project in occasional places. There has to be a total systemic change to the way in which rivers are maintained.”

Mr Kelsall explained that he believed defence works fall short of what is needed, as a result of an overly-restrictive Government approach to funding flood defences.

“”The Environment Agency has to work through a series of rules run by the Treasury called the Green Book,” he said.

“If they have a problem point where houses are being flooded, they will look at funding a project that will provide benefit and security on an eight to one basis.

“This means that if the Environment Agency spends £1, they have to see £8 of benefit.

“You can’t spend the money in Carlisle and solve an 81-mile problem.”

While the Bitts Park car park is closed for the duration of the works, alternative parking can be found nearby at the Castle car park, the Sands car park and the Swifts Bank car park.

Nigel Christian, Carlisle City Council’s portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “The Environment Agency flood improvements are vital for protecting the city from future flood risks.

“We apologise for any inconvenience the car park closure may cause but I’m sure local residents and visitors will appreciate the importance of the works.”