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Work starts on new flood risk management scheme in Stoke-on-Trent

The Environment Agency has started work on a new £10.6 million flood risk management scheme to better protect homes and businesses in Stoke-on-Trent town centre.  

The scheme will reduce flood risk to 333 homes and businesses from the Fowlea Brook during times of high rainfall. It will help to regenerate the area and create new jobs.   

The Fowlea Brook is a six kilometer tributary of the River Trent that runs through the heart of Stoke-on-Trent from the north of Longport meeting the Trent between the town centre and Fenton. The scheme will focus on a stretch of the watercourse between the Shelton Old Road and the Civic Centre, making it more resilient to flooding.  

Preparation work for the main construction works took place last year with vegetation cleared to make way for construction traffic. As part of the scheme, the Environment Agency will replant five trees for every one removed within the working area. 

Environment Agency Flood Risk Team Leader for the West Midlands, Mark Swain, said:   

“While properties in the area have thankfully not flooded since 1997, there is a high risk of flash flooding and water levels can increase by more than a meter in 15 minutes, particularly during summer thunderstorms as we saw in July 2021.  

“This scheme will help to better protect the area from the devastating impact of flooding and make it more resilient to effects of climate change. It will also enable the area to be regenerated and help to create up to 570 jobs.”  

Councillor Amjid Wazir, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for city pride, enforcement and sustainability said:  

“We welcome the Environment Agency investment in flood risk reduction in Stoke and are delighted that work is now underway.  

“These measures are essential to support the viability of Stoke town centre and to protect hundreds of homes and businesses from the threat of flooding. The work will enable development at the historic Spode Works site, the creation of jobs and improvements to the town centre to attract further investment.” 

Vij Randeniya, Chair of the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee said:  

“This scheme will improve the environment, reduce the impact and likelihood of flooding on a large scale, and just as importantly enable over 500 new jobs.  

“This is an important project for the people of Stoke and demonstrates the importance of partnership working.”

 The scheme will have wide ranging benefits to the local community, with 214 residential properties and 119 non-residential properties being better protected as a result of the new defences. This equates to £62 million in direct damages which are avoided.  

As well as the protection to properties, the works will improve in-channel habitats and removing a weir that will unlock six kilometers of river for fish migration from the Trent to the headwaters of the Fowlea Brook.  

The Fowlea Brook scheme is part of the Environment Agency’s investment of £5.2 billion by 2027 in 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties across England. The investment is one of the ways that the Environment Agency is responding to the impacts of the climate emergency in the UK which is resulting in more extreme weather and heavy rain increasing the likelihood of flooding.  

Make sure you know your flood risk by going the GOV.UK website or search ‘know my flood risk’ to sign up for Environment Agency flood warnings, receive information on the risk in your area and what to do in a flood: https://check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk/

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