A year to the day since issuing a severe flood warning to a community in Hampshire the Environment Agency has announced that it has strengthened a flood wall and significantly reduced local flood risk.
On 20 December 2012, residents in Wallington, near Fareham, had to be evacuated from the village after the River Wallington rose dangerously and damaged the wall in response to heavy rainfall. The Environment Agency issued a Severe Flood Warning as a result.
The highest level of flood warning was issued after cracks appeared in the North Wallington Road wall due to the pressure from the sheer volume of water on it. As a result the defence was at risk of being breached, potentially putting lives and homes at risk.
Although emergency repairs undertaken by specialist Environment Agency teams during the height of the incident last year prevented any breach, it was clear that a permanent repair was needed. The wall has now been strengthened, significantly reducing the risk to local homes and business. However, the village is protected by a number of different walls, embankments and pumping stations, and the Environment Agency is now working on a long term integrated plan that takes into account all of the existing defences in order to consider all options for managing and further reducing this risk. Further strengthening work will also take place along the North Wallington Road wall in the New Year.
David Walton, Wallington Village Flood Co-ordinator, said: “Wallington Village Community Association (WVCA) is extremely grateful, not just for the ongoing work to repair and strengthen the flood defence wall that was damaged in December of last year, but also the wider efforts being made to reduce the flood risk to the village.
“The latter involves both tidal and fluvial issues, including a major new development that is being planned for upstream of the village and raises a number of complicated issues which we fully appreciate will take time to resolve.”
Mike O’Neill of the Environment Agency said: “It is great news that a year on from the severe flood warning in Wallington we can confirm that we have significantly reduced the flood risk in the village for local residents and business owners. It’s also pleasing to be able to announce that further work to reinforce this important flood defence wall will go ahead in the New Year.
“We are looking at the various defences in the village in order to make sure we have an integrated and considered flood risk management scheme in place for the residents and businesses in the area.”
Following consultation with the Wallington village community an option was developed which could be implemented on the river side of the wall. This consisted of building a steel column and timber board retaining wall. The steel columns are placed at two metre intervals which are connected to the new reinforced concrete base of the wall. This innovative solution reduces the water pressure on the brick wall and also has limited visual impact on the Wallington Village Conservation Area as well as preventing narrowing of the road.
The second phase of this project will start in the second week of January 2014 and will be completed in early February. The scheme could have started this month but the decision was taken in full agreement with village representatives to delay the work. This will prevent any potential disruption it would have caused for residents of North Wallington Road during Christmas and New Year period.
Press Release, December 23, 2013