The Environment Agency maintains 1.3km of flood wall in the town, which protects over 500 homes and businesses and is intersected with a series of public access and residential flood gates that maintain access to the river from public areas and some residential gardens, but can be closed if flooding is forecast.
The review, which was carried out to ensure the town’s defences continued to offer the best possible protection for the whole community, started in February and considered whether residential gates should be replaced or removed in favour of a continuous flood wall.
Simon Wilson, from the Environment Agency’s Flood and Coastal Risk Management team in the North East, said:
Our absolute priority for this project has been to secure the best possible flood protection for Yarm. We considered various options such as providing new flood gates or replacing floodgates with walls, and how the different options would impact all local people.
Each of the residential gates located on an individual’s property is unique, just like each of the homeowners’ needs are unique, so we spoke personally with all of the affected homeowners to understand their requirements and discuss the operation of the gate on their property.
We have listened to residents and they have played a key role in helping us to make a decision which is right for the individual residents as well as the wider community.
Site investigation work is underway
Out of the 21 residential gates, 16 will be replaced on a like for like basis. The Environment Agency is still speaking with a small number of residents about potentially reducing the size of the gates on their property so they are more efficient to operate. One resident is open to their gate being replaced with a flood wall and discussions are ongoing.
Of the 11 public access gates in the town, nine will be replaced on a like for like basis with an improved design and new specifications making them more reliable and efficient to operate. Two do not need to be replaced.
Contractors for the Environment Agency have been in the town since early August carrying out some site investigation work, which will inform future design options for the new gates. Further updates will the provided to residents and the wider community when designs are complete.
Residents are encouraged to check their flood risk and take steps to Prepare. Act. Survive – visit the ‘what to do in a flood’ page
Those living in an area at risk of flooding are encouraged to download the Environment Agency’s simple flood plan so you’ll know what to do when there’s a flood warning in your area.