Update 27th August 2019

Our overall concerns about the Kendal Flood Defence Scheme, as set out in our responses to the planning application, still stand. This includes fundamental concerns over the failure to undertake upstream measures prior to installing downstream measures; failure to maximise and prioritise natural flood management measures; failure to maximise property-level resilience and defence; failure to fully consider more forward-thinking alternatives to traditional, hard-engineered flood defence walls and the loss of several hundred trees. 

Despite this, I can confirm that Friends of the Lake District supports, in principle, the use of part glass, part wall flood defence structures along Aynam Road as an alternative to solid wall structures. It is our view that if a part glass, part wall structure were to be used along sections of the scheme such as that along Aynam Road, then this would be likely to result in a lesser visual impact and reduced compromise to public connectivity with the river compared to the approved proposals for a solid wall structure. 

This does not constitute a declaration of support for the overall Kendal Flood Defence Scheme as currently proposed, or any individual aspect of it, and our objections to the scheme as a whole, and our fundamental concerns, remain.

Update 8th May 2019

Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme - Planning Application No. SL/2018/0925 - Secretary of State decides not to call in the decision to approve the scheme.

We are disappointed to hear that The Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has decided not to call in the application for Kendal’s flood defence scheme. This means that the local planning authority’s decision stands. The Secretary of State made clear he has not considered the matter of whether this application complies with Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, saying that the local planning authority is responsible for considering whether these Regulations apply and, if so, for ensuring that the requirements of the Regulations are complied with. We do not think that the EIA rules were properly complied with. Unfortunately this decision may represent the end of the road for influencing Kendal’s flood defence scheme. We will let you know if any further information comes to light.


21st March 2019 - Kendal Flood Defences scheme approved by SLDC, but we submit a request for the decision to be 'called in'.

We spoke at a Planning Committee meeting on 21st March before proposals for 12km of flood defence walls through Kendal were approved by South Lakeland District Council. This is Phase 1 of a three phase project. We remain deeply concerned about the impact of the walls on Kendal’s historic environment, on its character and on people’s enjoyment of the river corridor, as well as impacts on common land and the way in which the project (which includes felling 545 trees) has been approached. View our second response to the plans here.

Although approved by the council, we have, alongside local residents and other local and national organizations*, submitted a request to the Secretary of State that the application be ‘called-in’. This would mean that the application would be assessed by the Secretary of State, who would then decide whether or not the council has made the right decision.

We have made the request for two reasons; one being impacts on Nationally Designated Heritage Assets, and the other relating to the lack of certainty, or any assessment of, Phases 2 and 3 actually being carried out, which are upstream flood defence and flood risk management measures on which the scheme is wholly dependent.

* The people and groups that have asked for the decision to be called in:

  • Friends of the Lake District
  • Lakeland Arts (the Abbott Hall)
  • Kendal Civic Society
  • The Georgian Group (supported by the Victorian Society) - both national organizations
  • Aynam Road Residents’ Group (including several people who have direct experience of having had their homes flooded)
  • two individual residents
  • a local architect specializing in historic environment

Read our original response to the plans here.


                     
14th February 2019 - Environment Agency issue amendments including reducing the number of trees to be felled from 779 to 545

In response to concerns raised by members of the public and organisations, the Environment Agency has issued new documentation relating to their planning application to build flood defences along the River Kent in Kendal.

How to view

All the documents are available via this webpage  Type SL/2018/0925 into the ‘Planning Application Number’ box on the right hand side of the page and click ‘Search’.

On the next page click ‘View plans and documents’. On the next page click in the box that says you agree to this statement (copyright rules) and then click on ‘Proceed’.

From there, it will be easiest if you click on ‘Received date’ to sort the documents by date and then click on page 2. From there you can click through pages 2-10, which include the most recent amended documents – all those with ‘Amended’ as the first word in the title.

The most helpful are those with ‘Tree removal and retention plan’ in the Description column as despite the name, these also give information on the flood walls proposed. They cover the whole route of the Kent through Kendal section by section.

The new documents include amendments such as reducing the number of trees to be felled from 779 to 545 and a commitment to replacing lost trees 6:1 instead of 4:1. However, this is still a large number of trees to lose and those to be saved do not include prominent trees on areas such as Aynam Road and Gooseholme. While a 6:1 replanting ratio is commendable, new trees will take many years to provide the benefits that mature trees do. Many of the concerns we raised in our original response remain, including the small number of homes to be protected, increased flood risks for some homes and reliance on two later phases of the scheme, yet to be devised. We are concerned that as parts of the scheme are mutually dependent on one another and that each would be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment legislation, the three phases should not be treated separately, but assessed as one project.

We will be submitting a further response to this application to take into account the revised documents by the deadline of 3rd March.


21st December 2018 - Our response to SL/2018/0925 Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme

We have now submitted our response to SL/2018/0925 Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme - Phase 1 Kendal Linear Defences. You can read it at this link: FLD response to SL20180925.pdf


21st December 2018 - Additional information provided by the Environment Agency

Information relating to the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme provided by the Environment Agency

Fact Check figures: Kendal_Factcheck_V2.pdf

Kendal Future Flood Risk Management Update: Kendal_newsletter_Final_Dec_18.pdf


18th December 2018 - Press Release issued today - Kendal Flood Defence Scheme

The Environment Agency has proposed a Kendal Flood Defence Scheme to try to reduce the flood risk to homes and businesses in the town that was one of the Cumbrian communities badly affected by Storm Desmond in 2015. 

The Plan includes flood defence barriers and embankments along much of the riverside within the town, and areas at Mintsfeet, Beezon Fields and Gooseholme being allowed to flood in order to store and slow down water flow. 

Local landscape charity, Friends of the Lake District, while welcoming measures that will reduce flooding risks, has raised some questions on this particular plan. 

Lorayne Wall, Planning Officer at Friends of the Lake District, 

“We feel that given the scale, complexity and importance of this scheme, insufficient time has been allowed for members of the public and relevant organisations to properly consider all the documentation and its implications. 

“There is concern over the large number of trees to be felled given that trees contribute so much to the character of Kendal as well as helping to provide cleaner air, habitat, bank stabilisation and intercepting and storing water. 

“There is little mention of natural flood management measures within the town, further upstream or across the wider river catchment. There may be further opportunities to reduce run-off rates, reduce the peak flow of water and in turn, reduce the need for such significant and highly engineered measures within Kendal. There needs to be more consideration of alternatives such as increased flood resilience measures and pop-up flood barriers, such as those in Cockermouth, which would have more limited impacts. 

“This plan offers a valuable opportunity for an innovative solution that delivers on flood mitigation and defence for Kendal whilst protecting and enhancing what is special about the town. We feel that more time and effort should be invested to make sure that this happens.” 

The application is currently being considered by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC). It will be considered by SLDC Councillors at a meeting in March and it is expected that works will start shortly after that if approved.