Assisting the residents of Walney Island to better prepare for flooding

Article by Andy Ainsworth 22 August 2017

With approximately 3 million people in the UK living within coastal communities, the attraction and desire to live by the sea is evident. While sea views, fresh air, coastal walks and a quiet, relaxing way of life appeal to many, life by the coast can ultimately leave many communities at the mercy of mother nature. With wetter climates and rising sea levels playing an ever more prominent role in shaping coastal life, coastal erosion and flooding are affecting more communities than ever before. And in this respect, Walney Island on the south Cumbrian coastline is no different.

Piel Castle

At approximately 11 miles in length and covering roughly 5 square miles, Walney Island is currently home to approximately 13,000 residents. With the west coast exposed to the Irish Sea and the east coast home to large areas of low lying wet marsh land, the island narrows in width to approximately 250 meters at its narrowest point. Exposure to high tides and storm surges has resulted in progressive coastal erosion as well as extreme flood events capable of breaching the narrowest parts of the island and separating the south of the island from the north, cutting off access to some of the smaller and more rural businesses and communities in the process.

Walney Island Groynes (1)

What we are doing...

In delivering an Environment Agency funded program of work focussing on flood resilience, Newground has been engaging with residents in flood warning areas, offering free advice and support intended to help them to become more prepared and resilient to flooding. The term ‘resilience’ is used here to describe a package of different steps which can be adopted to help lessen the impact of a future flooding event; a key step being to encourage as many homes and businesses as possible to register to receive flood alerts and warnings, which can buy valuable time prior to a flood event to prepare.

Flood planning is an equally important step as it can greatly help to minimise the damage and loss experienced as well as reduce the impact of flooding. Homes and business with flood plans are nearly always more prepared and endure flood events with less disruption and recover far more quickly as a result.

Download a household flood plan for properties in Barrow here.

Download a business flood plan for properties in Barrow here.

The adoption of property level protection measures, ensuring property and possessions are insured against flood damage and becoming more flood aware in general are also good steps to becoming more flood resilient.

The main objectives of our engagement work are to encourage residents to know their risk, be prepared and have a plan. In speaking to residents we are...

Following Newground’s door step level engagement in August 2017, we held a drop in event at Walney Community Centre on Thursday 31st August 2017 from 3pm to 7pm. The drop-in event was an ideal opportunity for any residents who wanted to discuss any of the topics mentioned above in more detail or required further support in becoming more resilient.

You can check if you property is eligible to receive flood alerts and warnings from the Environment Agency either by registering your details online at or by calling the Environment Agency’s Floodline number on 0345 988 1188.

You can find more infomation about the Flood Warning Service here.

PLEASE NOTE: While some residents may already be receiving flood alerts automatically via a landline telephone number, they may not be registered to receive flood warnings. The only way to ensure you are fully signed up to receive both alerts and warnings is to register your contact details via the web link or Floodline number above. If in doubt, please check and ensure you are fully registered.

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