Environment Minister opens Morecambe flood defence scheme

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey visited Morecambe today (19 October) to officially open the town’s new wave reflection wall.

Funded by £10.8m central government grant-in-aid funding, the wave reflection wall defence will reduce flood risk to 11,400 homes and has a design life of 100 years, taking into consideration climate change and sea level rise.

Led by Lancaster City Council in partnership with the Environment Agency, the wall consists of 4km of reinforced concrete defences that will provide protection against a major flood event. Sympathetically designed to fit in with the local environment, the wall also includes a nod to late local legend Eric Morecambe - with the shape of his glasses engraved in an end section.

In addition to protecting 11,400 residential properties, the WRW will also:

  • reduce the risk of flooding to 2,246 commercial properties;
  • reduce the risk of flooding to major highway and promenade infrastructure;
  • safeguard the local economy.

Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Morecambe’s new Wave Reflection Wall, which has been entirely funded by the government, is absolutely fabulous and I want to thank the Council and other partners in their support in achieving this.

“I also want to thank local MP David Morris who worked tirelessly to make the case for nearly £11m of investment into this flood defence, better protecting more than 13,000 homes and businesses as well as the local tourism industry from the risk of flooding.”

Environment Agency Area Director for Cumbria and Lancashire, Keith Ashcroft, said: “In the face of challenges like a changing climate, rising sea levels and more severe weather, the Environment Agency is working hard to protect people, homes and businesses from flooding.

“The Morecambe Wave Reflection Wall is a great example of partnership: by working together the Environment Agency, Lancaster City Council, engineers VBAJV Ltd have created an exceptionally value-for-money sea defence.”

Lancaster City Councillor Janice Hanson, Cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration and planning, said: “The repair and replacement of the wave reflection wall has been a vitally important project and will protect thousands of homes from the risk of coastal flooding. The design is second to none and as well as the protection it provides, the wall has really helped to enhance the promenade and reflect the beauty of its setting in Morecambe Bay.

“We have received many positive comments from both residents and businesses, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of all involved.”

Richard Walsh, project manager at VBA, a joint venture comprising VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business said:

“As the main contractor, VBA is extremely proud to be involved in a scheme that brings a wide range of benefits to the local community, not only protecting homes and businesses from flooding, but providing a lasting legacy to residents and visitors to enjoy for many years to come.”

Last updated: 18 October 2018