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29/02/12: Multimillion-pound flood protection scheme under way

A £7.3 million project to defend the region’s electricity network against flooding is ahead of schedule, despite current UK fears of a drought.

Electricity North West has been implementing fresh protection measures at 31 sites after surveying a total of 55 sites with the aim of reducing unplanned power outages when safety measures are tripped by flood water. All programmed sites will be completed by the autumn this year.

Electricity North West – which, operates and maintains the region’s power network – has used up-to-date flood mapping information to identify sites at risk of flooding and where required taken preventative measures such as: 

  • Building higher walls around specific vulnerable equipment.
  • Waterproofing existing walls to prevent leakage.
  • Installing pumps which remove water automatically when it rains.
  • Ensuring that all ‘at risk’ sites have doors protected by flood barriers

Electricity North West’s asset manager, Eddie Hamilton, said: “It’s an understatement to call the region’s weather unpredictable. Even as we are pressing ahead with this project, the country is being warned of a looming drought – but the lack of recent flooding is what has allowed us to get ahead with this work.

“Dry conditions, followed by heavy rainfall is actually a prime trigger for flash flooding so it is important that our protection in high-risk areas is ready for the challenges the changeable weather may throw at us.”

The investment is part of Electricity North West’s commitment to reducing power outages caused by weather.

Eddie added: “It’s easy to look at the network and wonder why so many sites are in areas prone to flooding. One reason is that substations need to be close to customers – regardless of where they live.

“Environmental factors mean that more of the UK could be at risk of flooding in the future. This is why we are continuing to invest in the protection of the North West network to continually provide the best possible service to our customers.

“While we can’t predict how weather changes might affect the timescales of this type of project, it is good to be in a position where we know that we’re ahead of our plan to install extra protection in some of the higher-risk areas.”

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