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Salford was placed at risk of flooding by the Environment Agency last weekend but the city's brand new £10m flood defences managed to stay strong.

Storm Ciara battered Greater Manchester last weekend with heavy gusts, rain and many homes up and down the region flooded and damaged.

Unlike neighbouring Bury, which saw residents evacuated from their homes as the River Irwell bursts its banks and parks destroyed as Storm Ciara swept through, Salford fared much better.

There were relatively contrasting scenes from the ones we saw during the 2015 Boxing Day floods that decimated the city.

The flood defence worked so well that the warning was removed later that evening by the Environment Agency.

Work on the Salford Flood Storage Reservoir on Littleton Road was completed two years ago.

Found the site of the old Manchester Racecourse on Castle Irwell, it's aim was to protect up to 2,000 homes and businesses in the Lower Broughton and Lower Kersal area that bore the brunt of the 2015 Boxing Day floods.

With the capacity of 250 Olympic sized swimming pools, the basin works by capturing water that has overflowed from the River Irwell.

Once the river levels began to fall, the water is slowly released by two outlets pipes back into the river.

The basin was created in partnership with the Environment Agency, Salford Council and University of Salford.

A total of £5m of funding for the scheme came from Government grant-in-aid, £4.1 million came from a Government growth fund and the remaining £1.2 million came from Salford Council.

Chairwoman of the Environment Agency Emma Howard Boyd visited the Kersal Wetlands on Friday during her tour of the north west following Storm Ciara.

"Since the Boxing Day floods in 2015, this is one of the schemes that we have been able to invest in in partnership and it has protected over 2000 homes." She told the MEN.

"That is one of the positive stories that we wanted to highlight that investing in adaptation and flood measures does better protect communities from the risk of flooding.

"This has served a brilliant purpose over the weekend, all credit to the individuals who have been involved in this scheme.

"But it is always important, particularly as we head into the weekend with storm Dennis coming our way, that if you are living with flood risk, that we have to make sure that we are becoming resilient as communities to the risk of climate change, and that is something that this scheme has started to help with."

Emma Howard Boyd pictured with Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett and Councillor Derek Antrobus

While Storm Ciara was relatively milder than than the Boxing Day floods which saw 36 hours of torrential, Salford Council officers believe that the flood prevention reservoir is more than equipped to take on much sterner tests, whether it be Storm Dennis this coming weekend or for the future.

Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development for Salford Council Derek Antrobus said: "It was always our ambition to build a second flood basin and we worked very closely with Salford University who are the main land owners here and the environment agency who developed the flood basin.

"It was tragic in a sense that it wasn't completed in 2015 and we think that if it had been completed then we would have avoided the scale of the flooding that took place in the city at that time.

"What we saw this past weekend is that it did its job, it did everything that it promised to do, the basin was about half to 2/3 full, so there was still plenty of scope to take more water in a more serious storm.

"We're confident that it can protect people from a storm that was worse than last weekend."

The reserve has become a hotspot for local wildlife

That is yet to be seen however, and with Storm Dennis on the horizon, the Environment Agency are stressing for residents living in flood risk areas to be well prepared.

"It's really important for the community to keep aware of the warnings and information that we will be putting out over the weekend.

"We're doing a lot of work as the Environment Agency to get ready for Storm Dennis, we're making sure that we're out communities that have been flooded to help with repairs that are needed, and again make sure that communities are prepared for the events."

You can keep up to date with flood warnings over the weekend on the Environment Agency's Twitter and website.


Read full article on Salford


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