BY Mark Westwood | Friday 4 March 2022
The £42m Environment Agency project covers 7km of Humber shoreline and provides greater flood protection for 113,000 homes and businesses
Floods minister Rebecca Pow travelled to Hull this week to officially open the new flood defences along the Humber.
The £42million Humber: Hull Frontages flood scheme was officially opened yesterday by the minister, along with Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency.
As part of the Environment Agency project, the tidal flood defences along the Humber estuary have been upgraded, providing greater protection to 113,000 homes and businesses, as well as local infrastructure and other public amenities.
Construction work by contractors BMMJV, BAM Nuttall and Mott Macdonald started in the St Andrew’s Quay Retail Park in January 2019, and major works were finished in December 2021.
The new defences cover about 7km of shoreline, from St Andrew’s Quay Retail Park to the west of the city, through St Andrew’s Dock, William Wright Dock, Albert Dock, Humber Quays, Victoria Pier and Victoria Dock Village to the east.
The Environment Agency says the new defences reduce flood risk to a 0.5 per cent chance in any given year.
Ms Pow said: "This scheme – supported by £39million of Defra funding – is a crucial step forward in helping to prevent a repeat of the devastating flooding in 2013 and ensuring that Hull is resilient to the effects of climate change.
"We have invested more in Yorkshire and the Humber than any other region – with over £146m allocated for investment in new flood and coastal defences this year, and over half a billion pounds invested since 2015.”
Working with Hull City Council and residents of Victoria Dock Village, the Environment Agency chose materials and a colour palette that would blend the new defences into the existing landscape.
Glazed panels in the flood walls maintain estuary views from the footpaths running parallel to the estuary, which form part of the Trans Pennine Trail, as well as from homes in Victoria Dock Village.
Councillor Daren Hale, leader of Hull City Council, spoke about the vital importance of the flood defences at the official opening at The Deep Business Centre.
He said: “The opening of these state-of-the-art flood defences is critical to the regeneration of Hull.
“Since 2007, the city has seen more than £200m invested in its flood infrastructure, born out of the success of the Living with Water partnership and Hull being a Global Water Resilient City. The investment along the Humber frontage is arguably the most important, given the effects of climate change and Hull being the second most flood-prone city in the UK.
“We are delighted with the way the Environment Agency’s design team has worked with Hull City Council, as well as local residents and businesses, to ensure the scheme complements, in particular, the Fruit Market and Victoria Dock areas of the city. The clever use of brick cladding and screens retains the linkage between the city and the water in a way that responds well to the existing environment.
“The investment in flood defences has been central in enabling both Siemens Gamesa and Reckitt to invest in the city, and also to the regeneration of the Fruit Market and the city centre.”
The Humber: Hull Frontages project connects with the flood defence improvements built along the Humber by East Riding of Yorkshire Council; east of Hull at Paull and to the west of the city at Hessle.
Funding for the scheme came from Defra’s Flood Defence Grant in Aid, with a £3million contribution from Highways England (now National Highways).
The scheme was part of the Environment Agency’s previous six-year programme of capital flood defence schemes, which has successfully protected more than 314,000 homes since 2015.
Ms Howard Boyd said: "This week, the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] released its most severe warning yet about the impacts of climate change, but our response should not only be about avoiding shocks, threats and risks, it’s about creating a fairer, greener, more prosperous future.
“The Humber: Hull Frontage scheme provides better protection for thousands of homes, businesses, and agricultural land. This should generate additional investor confidence and provide greater economic prosperity and job security in the area. I am particularly pleased that, as we relied on local labour for construction, this opened up opportunity for apprentices to work on the scheme and find full time employment.”
Residents can sign up for free flood warnings by visiting www.gov.uk/flood or contacting Floodline on 0345 988 1188.