Some 600 residential and commercial properties along with key infrastructure in Luton will benefit from improved protection from flooding, thanks to a new flood storage area currently under construction by the Environment Agency.
This £8.5 million project will hold water at times of heavy rain, allowing it to drain slowly and under control into the Houghton Brook – cutting the risk of flooding to people and property along the Houghton Brook and River Lea in Luton.
The work is being carried out in response to the town’s long history of flooding from the River Lea and its tributaries, in particular where the Houghton Brook joins the River Lea around Toddington Road. In 2007, Luton Central Fire Station, the A6, local roads and Wardown Park were all affected by flooding.
It will also result in a better environment for people and wildlife that is more resilient to the impacts of flooding and climate change, with the creation of an attractive ‘green corridor’ of public open space and recreational areas. This will incorporate grassland with flowers, trees and shrubs that will benefit wildlife such as bumble bees, butterflies, birds and bats.
Darsha Gill, the Environment Agency’s Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for Hertfordshire and North London, said:
We and our partners are making good progress with the construction of the flood storage area at Houghton Brook, which is a key part of plans to reduce the risk of flooding in the Luton area. Our construction partner BAM Nuttall is working within the latest Public Health England guidelines to ensure the safety of our staff, partners and the local community.
The Environment Agency strives to make people more aware of the risks of flooding, and our Flood Action week held last week highlighted that 1 in 8 people do not know if they live in a flood-risk area.
We would encourage everyone to check the risk of flooding in their area, and also to familiarise themselves with the different warning levels, so they know what to do in the event of flooding.
Advice includes signing up to the free Flood Warning Service and checking necessary actions for each level of warning, working with neighbours to create a community flood plan, and gathering essential items in a personal ‘flood kit’.
Further information is available on GOV.UK.
Work by construction partner BAM Nuttall began in May this year and is expected to be completed by spring 2021. It is being funded by Defra, Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, SEMLEP Local Growth Fund and Luton Borough Council.