Over £3.7million has been spent boosting defences in Stokesley with the aim of managing the impacts of climate change and the flow of the River Leven through and around the town.
Work on the new defences has included:
- The construction of a new upstream flow control structure. When water levels in the River Leven are high, the upstream structure will automatically divert flows down the flood diversion channel around Stokesley. The new structure will also provide significantly improved fish passage and allows greater flows down the Leven into Stokesley, under normal water conditions, improving the River Leven’s health.
- A re-profiled flood diversion channel which is easier to maintain and has greater capacity to contain the flow of flood water, which is diverted from the Leven by the upstream flow control structure.
- The construction of a new downstream flow control structure. The new structure has side hung doors which close during high flows, stopping the Eller Beck flowing back up the Leven into Stokesley.
- River restoration on the Levenside, delivered in collaboration with the Tees Rivers Trust. The works here include the installation of a new fish pass and deflectors to create different flow speeds and a more naturalised river.
The Environment Agency appointed Mott MacDonald and BAM Nuttall in a joint venture to design and build the scheme with construction starting in autumn 2020 and work completing in August 2022. The scheme was officially opened on Friday 23rd September by Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond alongside representatives from the Environment Agency and Tees Rivers Trust.
Residents ‘will be reassured’
Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond (North Yorkshire), said:
Many Stokesley residents and business will be reassured by this work which maintains and improves flood protection – saving many people from the heartache of dealing with the devastating impact flooding can have.
The environmental improvements are a welcome additional bonus. Levenside is a beautiful part of the town and this work only enhances its attraction. I’d also like to thank the many volunteers who helped with the river works.
Jamie Fletcher, the Environment Agency’s Flood Risk Operations Manager for the North East, said:
The community of Stokesley have seen first-hand how devastating flooding can be. That’s why I’m so pleased to see the completion of these vital defences ahead of winter.
This new £3.7 million investment will better protect 509 homes and businesses, giving peace of mind to residents for many years to come, while also bringing benefits for wildlife in the wider area. It is also a great example of how we work with partners to make communities more resilient to the escalating impacts of the climate emergency.
River ‘is a great asset for the town’
Ben Lamb, CEO at the Tees Rivers Trust said:
The Trust have been working in and around the Leven Catchment for 12 years and have talked with Stokesley residents and interest groups about improving the river through the town on many occasions. Therefore, it has been a great opportunity to finally get in and give the river some TLC and make some improvements to flow, habitat and fish passage.
We had an enormous amount of help from volunteers who tirelessly shifted over 50 tons of gravel into the new meander area in town and enjoyed being treated to coffee and chips from neighbouring businesses in the heat! The river is a great asset for the town, and we are getting regular reports of wildlife in and around the river since we completed the work.
The Stokesley scheme is just one of many across the North East that better protects properties and businesses as part of a £132million six year investment programme to create or improve flood and coastal defences in the region.
Last year’s record government investment announcement of £5.2 billion to better protect 336,000 properties across England by 2027 includes a further £193million investment in North East defences.