Cheshire - River Mersey Flood Risk Management Scheme, Warrington

  • Local primary school children who took part in the art competition.

  • New entrance at Victoria Park.

  • New entrance at Victoria Park.

  • New flood defence wall.

  • Riverside Close improved riverside walks and views.

  • Wharf Street improved riverside walks and views.


The River Mersey Warrington Flood Risk Management Scheme is the first and highest priority scheme recommended by the Warrington Flood Risk Management Strategy. The strategy is a high level assessment of flood risk which can be used to guide future flood defence works. The project is being delivered in 3 phases and when completed it will provide a 1 in 100 year standard of protection, to just over 2,000 households.

Warrington had the tenth highest number of properties at significant risk of flooding in the country from the River Mersey and the tributary watercourses that flow into it. In February 1990, the River Mersey overtopped its banks flooding Knutsford Road and 1500 terraced properties came very close to flooding. More recently there was a high tide in December 2013 that tested the Phase 1 flood defence that was only completed a matter of weeks prior; had it not been there up to 200 homes would have been flooded.

The Environment Agency have worked closely with key partners, namely Warrington Borough Council and Scottish Power to secure financial contributions to help deliver the flood defence scheme. This external contribution totalled £6million; £2million of which is being contributed by Scottish Power in recognition of the benefits this scheme will provide to one of their electricity distribution grids.


Phase 1 is in the Latchford area of Warrington and was completed in November 2013. This was a combination of earth embankments and flood defence walls and now provides flood protection from the River Mersey to 1500 homes. Phase 2 construction in the Howley area of Warrington started January 2014. Phase 3 is in the Padgate, Woolston, Kingsway North, Cinnamon Brow and Latchford East areas of Warrington. The whole scheme is scheduled for completion in early 2016.

The scheme will also provide a 1 in 1000 year standard of flood protection to a major high voltage substation in Warrington which is a critical asset for electricity supply to the town.

The flood defences have been designed to improve and provide new riverside footpaths and views of the River Mersey for local people to enjoy and to enhance the local environment. When looking to construct the flood defence in the first phase a number of trees had to be felled; this was a sensitive issue to the neighbourhood so felling took place outside of the bird nesting season. More trees were replanted than were originally taken out with an arboretum of specialist trees created within Victoria Park making the park more accessible to the local community with its grand entrance and improvements to existing footpaths.

The scheme also includes the improvement of 5 hectares of environmental habitat, looking to create new reed beds. A length of culvert on Padgate Brook will also be opened to try and restore the watercourse to its natural environment.

The Environment Agency worked with a local primary school in Latchford where the children learnt about flood risk and then took part in an art competition; the best entries were chosen as art work to be incorporated into the final flood defence wall. Involving the local school has provided ownership to the local community and this is an approach that will be carried out for the other phases.

Further Information

It was very important to engage and talk with the local communities so that they were all up to date on the flood defence proposals and the timetable the Environment Agency were looking to work to. There were a number of manned public displays in the town centre at key stages of the project and prior to the submission of planning applications. Evening meetings were held with various community groups as well as fortnightly drop-in clinics during the construction works. Newsletters and site visits with local schools and colleges are ongoing and regular newsletters are sent out to ensure that the community are aware of the works that are taking place. Their views and concerns are listened to and their continued support allows the project to go forward.

Another area the Environment Agency gave a lot of consideration to and looked to save money was with the proposed finishes to the new flood walls. Rather than fixing stone or brick to the concrete walls, which would have been expensive, the focus was placed on achieving the best concrete finish possible. Through careful selection of the sand and aggregate (colour and shape) in the concrete mix and the different exposed finishes, the “architectural stone” look has been further enhanced with the use of the pupil’s artwork.


Brenda Fields and Chris Stone, Environment Agency