1. ITV Report

Two years on from the devastation of Storm Desmond

Cockermouth High Street in Cumbria after torrential rain caused rivers to burst their banks Photo: PA

Today marks exactly two years since Storm Desmond hit the region, flooding thousands of homes and businesses.

This includes 125 households yet to return home - 77 of them in Carlisle, one of the worst hit parts of the county.

To date, Cumbria County Council says it has spent £70 million fixing damaged infrastructure, with almost £55 million of contracts going to Cumbrian suppliers.

Aerial photo of flooded homes in Carlisle Credit: ITV Border

The December 2015 storm resulted in:

  • 7,465 properties being flooded.
  • 3,034 children unable to attend school.
  • almost 18,000 homes without electricity.
  • around 1,200 bridges, roads and other locations damaged.
  • 700,000 hours of repair work.
In total the final repair bill is expected to top £120 million.
Emergency workers stand in floodwater on Warwick Road in Carlisle Credit: PA

The devastation extended to the collapse of the historic Pooley Bridge and the damage to the A591 through the centre of the Lake District.

Since then, 278 bridges have been repaired or rebuilt and 264 are currently in progress, with 242 scheduled to begin work in the coming months.

In addition to the work on bridges, 108 miles of road across 162 different schemes have been resurfaced, representing around 3% of the county’s total road network.

Flooding in Grasmere, Cumbria after 18 hours of heavy rain Credit: PA

The Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Fleet said:

Two years on we’re still in the thick of dealing with the impact of Storm Desmond, and we will be for at least another year. The work our teams have done, side by side with local contractors, has been incredible.

It’s not just the scale and quality what’s been done on the ground that’s so impressive, the work behind the scenes to project manage such a large number of schemes, across a wide area and involving numerous local communities has required real skill."

– Councillor Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Fleet
Flooded roads in Appleby in Cumbria, as Storm Desmond hits the UK Credit: PA

Councillor Keith Little added:

It’s particularly pleasing that local Cumbrian contractors have been successful in securing contracts, this has been about ensuring something positive comes out of what was a difficult and traumatic period for so many of our residents.

I’d also like to thank the public for their patience, it’s been unavoidable that there has been a lot more work on the network and we know that can sometimes cause frustration. But it is necessary and we do make every effort to minimise any disruption.”

– Councillor Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Fleet