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Cockermouth Official Opening


On Tuesday, 11th June the largest flood defence scheme in the UK was officially opened to the public. This pioneering project included the largest passive flood defence system installation in the country at 115m, providing the community with vital passive protection. The ground breaking scheme was officially opened by Richard Benyon, Secretary of State for the Natural Environment and local Councils from around the UK were invited to witness the installation in action.

UK Flood Barriers were chosen by the Environment Agency to install our revolutionary passive flood defence system along the River Cocker to mitigate against further flooding. The passive flood defence system, part of the self closing flood barrier range is the world's most effective passive flood defence system. With an unblemished track record, the advantage of not requiring any intervention and a design life of 100 years the  passive flood defence system was a highly favourable choice when specifying cost effective passive flood defence for this scheme.  Another important aspect was to ensure the river views and the heritage value that brands Cockermouth as a beautiful market town is maintained. Installed permanently and invisibly in the ground, the  passive flood defence system barrier met this criteria.

The project was funded by the Environment Agency donating £3.3m with an additional £1.1m funded by local organisations and is the first scheme of its kind in the UK. The flood defence was officially opened to local residents, the EA and local Councils on Tuesday, 11th June 2013. The day began with local pupil, Molly Palmer who wrote a poem especially for the occasion and Richard Benyon, Secretary of State for the Natural Environment pulling the ribbon from the commemorative plaque to mark the special occasion. A public drop in session took place at Cockermouth’s Town Hall for guests to understand the reduced risks and benefits of the towns new flood defence followed by a guided walk along the River Cocker to witness the demonstration of deployment of the flood defence.

The passive flood defence system will offer protection to over 400 homes and businesses and give the residents a piece of mind for the future. ‘The residents and businesses of Cockermouth have suffered from severe flooding and so I am delighted that they now have a new state-of-the-art flood defence barrier that will better protect them…’ Richard Benyon reported on the day.

Click to read the full case study


A plaque inscribed with the winning poem written by Molly Palmer to commemorate the official opening

The monumental day was captured nationally throughout the press, most notably BBC News  and The Guardian, with national and international acclaim helping to spread the benefits of passive flood defence systems throughout the world.

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