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Cumbria on flood alert

The Environment Agency has issued a flood alert for the Rivers Caldew and Petteril.

Heavy and persistent rain is expected to spread in from the west, lasting until Sunday. The rain and widespread snowmelt means there is a possibility of flooding.

All of Cumbria will be affected, mainly on higher grounds. Flooding is possible for the rivers from the Lakeland fells to where they meet the Eden in Carlisle, including Greystoke, Newton Reigny, Plumpton, Stockdalewath, Sebergham and Denton Holme in Carlisle.

Environment Agency to prosecute Sellafield

The company that runs the Sellafield nuclear site, Sellafield Limited, is to be prosecuted over a 'waste disposal incident.'

It's after allegations the company sent and disposed of four bags of low level radioactive waste from it's west Cumbrian site in 2010.

The company faces nine charges; eight charges have been brought by the Environment Agency and one charge brought by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

The Environment Agency charges are brought under the Radioactive Substances Act and Environmental Permitting Regulation.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation charge is brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009.

Flash flood hotspots

The Environment Agency are warning that thousands of people in the North West are at risk from flash flooding, and is urging communities to prepare in advance.

Flash flooding is caused by intense rainfall. It occurs suddenly with little or no warning – often before the emergency services have time to arrive. It tends to happen when heavy rainfall runs off land and quickly swells rivers and streams, or where drainage systems are overwhelmed by rainfall.

To try and help people understand the risks, the Environment Agency has undertaken detailed studies to identify the communities most at risk from this type of flooding.

They will contact local householders and business owners to explain the risks, and how to prepare themselves to stay safe.

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River project awarded

A conservation project to improve the quality of the River Petteril in Carlisle has won a national award.

The River Petteril was once renowned for its trout fishing, but recently was identified by the Environment Agency as being "poor" in terms of water quality and its fish populations.

Pollution was identified as a major problem, arising from various sources such as farms, roads, inadequate sewage systems and domestic septic tanks.

Working with farmers much of the focus was on reducing how much animal waste was washed in to watercourses and improving drainage and guttering.

More than 5km of river bank has been fenced to prevent farm animals from reaching the river. More than 2,000 trees have been planted along the river to stabilise the banks and allow more wildlife to feed and breed in the river.

Barriers that stopped fish migrating upstream have been improved.

"We are delighted to have received this award, which recognises the achievements and benefits of this collaborative way of working. None of this would have been possible without the fantastic support and commitment of the local farming community.

"The project will benefit all those concerned with the river and its surroundings, and make it a better place for people and wildlife."

– Simon Johnson, Director of Eden Rivers Trust

Environment Agency launch 'Flood Action Month'

After one of the wettest summers on record, the environment agency are encouraging householders to get to know their flood risks and make plans to protect their properties over the winter.

It has launched 'Flood Action Month' to try and encourage residents and businesses to safeguard their families, possessions and livelihoods.

The Environment Agency's Flood Executive for the North West, Sally Sudworth, said:

"One in six properties are at risk from flooding in England, but only five per cent of people living and working in these locations accepts that risk. Knowing your flood risk and being prepared could save your family, possessions and livelihood.

"You can check your risk of flooding from rivers and the sea on the Environment Agency's online flood map and then find out what you can do to protect yourself on our website or by speaking to us."

"Surface water flooding, which happens when rainfall cannot drain away quickly enough, is harder to predict, so it's important that people get to know flooding hotspots in their neighbourhoods and keep an eye on the weather."

– Sally Sudworth, Environment Agency

The Environment agency list seven ways which people can make to protect homes and businesses.

  • Check your flood risk from rivers and the sea by typing your postcode into the Flood Map at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.
  • Develop a flood action plan so you know what to do if flooding is imminent - a useful guide can be found at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.
  • Sign up for free flood warnings if available in your community by calling the Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, look out for surface water flooding, and check the flood risk forecast.
  • Consider buying flood protection products for your home.
  • Prepare your home for flooding by storing precious items upstairs or in high cupboards.
  • Keep up to date with flood warnings in your location.

Cockermouth flood defence boost

flood rescue
Cockermouth was badly affected by flooding in 2009 Credit: ITV Border

Planners have approved a proposed scheme to protect the town of Cockermouth from flooding.

The town was badly affected by flood waters in 2009.

Now an Environment Agency scheme to construct walls, embankments and flood gates along the River Cocker and River Derwent has been approved.

360 local homes and 55 businesses will be protected. Funding for the scheme has almost been secured, with a pledge from central government to provide £3.3million. Once built, the scheme will reduce the risk of flooding in Cockermouth to a 1% chance in any one year.

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