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Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme

The south Cumbrian town of Kendal sits on the banks of the River Kent in a low lying area beneath the rolling hills of the Lake District National Park. The town and its people have suffered from a long history of flooding, most recently in 2015 when Storm Desmond’s unprecedented rainfall led to more than 2,000 properties being inundated with water as the Kent overtopped.


We were appointed on a design and build contract to help the Environment Agency develop and implement a long-term flood risk management solution that is sympathetic to the town’s history, character and charm.

What we are doing

We are in the process of delivering three phases of flood risk management in the town and the upriver communities of Burneside, Staveley and Ings. We have completed phase 1, which consisted of the construction of 6km of linear flood defences in Kendal using a combination of walls, embankments and 14 flood gates. We raised selected footpaths and roads and improved some of the floodwalls already in place. Phase 1 also involved the construction of a pumping station, and improving footpaths and five hectares of habitat and recreational space.

We are currently delivering the Early Contract Involvement (ECI) and construction stages of phases 2 and 3 of this flood risk management scheme. During Phase 2, we will deliver 1km of linear flood defences in Burneside and 0.9km of linear flood defences in Stavely and Ings. We will also deliver flood routing improvements such as raising kerbs, land raising and improving the flow of water where the River Rowan joins the River Kent.

During phase 3, we are going to construct two flood storage areas on the River Kent that will be used to impound water to reduce the volumes flowing downstream through Kendal during periods of extreme rainfall. We are also going to deliver a 2km-long upper catchment drain along with improvements to the existing drainage system.

Project successes

Once we have completed all three phases, £880m of potential future flood damage will have been eliminted. The new defences will protect 1,480 homes, 82 community facilities and 1,150 businesses which employ more than 6,000 local people.  

We have addressed the concerns of local people and enhanced the environment of Kendal wherever possible. We have planted six new trees for every tree lost during construction and improved 55 hectares of habitat and recreational land. Local people helped us select wall panels and finishes to match the character of existing building along the route and we used glass panels to maintain river views.