Construction of the Newbury flood alleviation scheme has been finished, according to the Environment Agency report. The work was delayed by high groundwater levels and high flows in the River Kennet during the winter of 2012 to 2013.
Newbury has been vulnerable to river flooding. Its canal and river banks and water levels are as much as 2.5 meters higher than the surrounding floodplain. There were floods in 1947, 1960, 2000 and 2003. Newbury has also experienced flooding from surface water and groundwater, most recently in 2007 and during the winter of 2013 to 2014. There is a separate investigation into these sources of flooding and what actions can be taken in the future.
The Newbury flood alleviation scheme was built by the Environment Agency and made up of flood defense work at 5 locations throughout Newbury town centre. It has been funded through Grant in Aid and third-party contributions from West Berkshire Council, Newbury Town Council and the Canal & Rivers Trust, local businesses and residents.
It was one of the first schemes to be delivered under the government’s flood and coastal resilience partnership funding policy, which was introduced in May 2011.
The Newbury flood alleviation scheme has been built to reduce the risk of river flooding to the town to a 1-in-100 (1%) chance of flooding in any 1 year. By investing £2 million in building the scheme, the Environment Agency estimates that it will avoid damages of £33.7 million over the lifetime of the flood defense.