MILLIONS of pounds will be injected into improving the town’s flood defences after Warrington was named in a list of areas most affected by flooding.
A report published by the Government’s environmental watchdog ranked the area 10th, with 6,500 properties at risk.
Pete Fox, the Environment Agency’s north west flood and coastal risk manager, said: “Warrington is one of our priority areas. As the report highlights, it has a high number of properties at significant risk of flooding.
“We already have existing flood warning arrangements in place but we have also been working on a Warrington flood risk management strategy.
“This is helping us to more fully understand the links between the tidal Mersey and other watercourses in the town.”
The town is no stranger to flooding – as evidence dating back to 1767 will testify –with the most significant being in the winters of 1990 to 2000.
Areas worst hit have been Howley, Westy, areas around Centre Park, parts of Orford, Longford and Dallam.
Mr Fox added: “Flooding is a huge problem especially with the changing climate. Half of the people in Carlisle (when it flooded in 2005) didn’t have house contents insurance.
“It is heart wrenching – their furniture and everything was in the street.”
It is believed that between £20million and £30million will be spent on the work over the next five years.
The sum will be made up of central Government and local funding.
“Warrington is really complicated because the Manchester Ship Canal, Mersey and lots of water branches flowing into the town,” said Mr Fox.
During times of heavy rainfall the ship canal diverts the majority of flow away from the Mersey, resulting in it bypassing the town centre.
The Mersey is at risk of flooding during high tides.
The Manchester Ship Canal plays a critical role in protecting Warrington from flooding.
He added: “I want to reassure people that it is our top priority that we are working hard to reduce risk.”
Impact can be reduced by placing plug sockets higher up the wall and using air brick covers to prevent water penetrating them.
The Environment Agency will be working in partnership with United Utilities, Warrington Borough Council and Manchester Ship Canal Company to help identify the best ways to manage flood risk to reduce the likelihood of flooding to people’s homes and businesses.
Residents will consulted about the Environment Agency’s proposals.
To sign up for the flood warning visit environment-agency.gov.uk or call 0845 9881188.