Ulverston Town Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme

Please click here for an update following the August 2016 flooding in Ulverston.


Town Beck lies within a steep catchment and the watercourse is mainly underground through the town centre. Ulverston has a history of flooding from various sources, most recently flooding in 2009 and 2012 when Town Beck burst its banks and caused flooding through the town centre. 

What have we achieved? - We are currently nearing the end of the flood alleviation works to Town Beck watercourse, which has improved the standard of defence to a 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP). This is a flood event that has a 1% probability of occurring in any given year or alternatively can be explained as having an average recurrence interval of 100 years. This is a significant increase on the previous level of protection in Ulverston which ranged from imminent risk to a 1 in 50 years standard of protection.

Why did we need to achieve this? - Town Beck is a very old watercourse that has both open channel and culverted sections. Before the scheme, it posed a significant flood risk to 407 properties and 118 businesses in Ulverston. In some sections the materials holding the channel in place were over 200 years old. By working together with our partners; Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council, United Utilities and Network Rail, and securing Flood Defence Grant in Aid we managed to accumulate enough monies to deliver a scheme to repair and increase the level of protection to Ulverston. This became even more poignant following the Cumbria floods in December 2016.

Who was working within your area? - Our team which included Environment Agency staff and our contractors JBA Bentley, were working extremely hard with the help of our specialist consultants and sub-contractors, to deliver the scheme and minimize disruption where possible. Unfortunately, some of the disruption was unavoidable.

The construction included:

  • Raising existing flood defence walls,
  • Installation of new floodgates,
  • Repairing and refurbishing the underground watercourse (culvert),
  • Building a swale in the natural flood plain to ensure that there is no increase to flood risk in South Ulverston. 

Construction works commenced in August 2015 and are due to be completed by March 2018. We allowed for three winter construction breaks as it was too risky to work within the channel during the winter period. Closing the site over the winter months also reduced disruption to the local community and reduced the safety risk to our contractors.

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