The Environment Agency marked the completion of the Kempsey Flood Risk Management Scheme with an official opening ceremony on Saturday by local MP Harriett Baldwin.
The £1.7 million Environment Agency project has reduced the risk of flooding to properties in the village and the nearby A38, to a 1 in 100 chance of a flood occurring in any one year.
Funding for the project has come from the Local Levy with contributions from Worcestershire County Council, Kempsey Parish Council and Kempsey Flood Action Group (FLAG).
A 180m long earth embankment has been constructed downstream of the village to stop flood water from the River Severn. A large culvert and automated penstock now allows the Hatfield Brook to flow freely into the River Severn during periods of low flood risk. During flooding of the Severn, the automated penstock will close to prevent flows backing up the Hatfield Brook into the village. When the penstock is closed, pumps located in a pump station, will discharge surface water and water from Hatfield Brook to the other side of the embankment to reduce the risk of flooding occurring in the village.
The Hatfield Brook contains eels - in order to comply with the EU Eel Regulations the Agency has installed pumps that are fish and eel friendly.
Up until 2008 Kempsey homes had been flooded 23 times in 30 years. The worst floods were in 2000 & 2007 when homes flooded 4 times. In July 2007 150 houses and businesses were flooded and A38 was closed for two days, when the River Severn and surface water overwhelmed drainage systems which could not drain into the brook.
Local residents assist with funding
Residents in Kempsey set up a flood action group in 2009. Since then they have played an active part in developing and delivering the project, initially assisting with funding and subsequently making representations to the Midlands Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.
Vaughan Felton, Project Manager for the Environment Agency said:
“Residents in Kempsey have suffered from flooding on many occasions in the past, the worst being in July 2007. This flood defence work will significantly reduce flood risk in the future and improve the quality of life for the local residents and businesses.”
Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said:
“I would like to pay tribute to the local people who campaigned for flood defences and raised money to help with this scheme. This is a complex scheme and I would pay tribute to the Environment Agency for working with local people to find the best possible solution, which offers protection whilst being sympathetic to the local environment. “
This is the sixth scheme that the Environment Agency has delivered in my constituency and I have been very impressed with their achievements.”