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What investment in flood defences means for engineers

In December 2015, the UK was subject to some of the heaviest rainfall in years as Storm Eva and Storm Desmond caused widespread flooding across York, Leeds, Somerset and surrounding areas.

Thousands of homes and businesses were ruined by the flooding and to avoid the same level of damage happening again, the key is to provide better and more reliable flood defences.

Given their vulnerable positioning, those who live on the flood plains and have had their possessions damaged by water are desperate for a more efficient solution to be found.

Reducing the impact of a flood

As a response to the damage that the flooding caused across the UK, Cameron pledged to spend £2.6billion over the next six years on flood defences and measures to ensure this destruction can be avoided in the future.

David Cameron commented, “I have seen first-hand the devastation caused by flooding. And that’s why this work to repair and improve flood defences is so vital.”

Over £40million of this investment will be spent on repairing, rebuilding and reinforcing existing flood defences that were damaged in the storm.

One of the worst affected areas was Yorkshire and the government’s plan is to spend £280million of the budget for flood prevention to ensure that houses, businesses and land here are all protected from flood damage in the future.

Specialist engineers will be required to implement plans to repair the flood defences that were deployed on the Ouse, Aire, Calder and Darwent rivers. Proposals are not just to repair, but also enhance and strengthen the flood defences that are there, requiring skilled engineers.

Charities have collected well over £2million to aid in the initial flood relief effort and the reinstallation and improvement of flood defences in vulnerable areas. This will contribute to the £50million fund that local authorities have been given towards their local flood relief efforts.

In Leeds, £45million is being invested into a flood defence scheme in the city centre which will build embankments and weirs to protect 3,000 homes, 500 businesses, 300 acres of development land and 22,000 jobs from the devastation that another flood would cause.

On a smaller scale, the government would like to introduce a system where farmers are paid through an EU agricultural grant, to manage their land in a way that could reduce flooding in larger towns and cities. This will open up opportunities for engineers to assist with the construction of mini dams that hold rain water and prevent it running into swollen town centre rivers.

Both local councils and the government on a wider scale are working towards ensuring that the flood defences across the country are strong enough to withstand storms of any level. This means that there are thousands of openings for engineers skilled in, and looking to learn about flood defences.

By Neil Wilkie, Head of Procurement, Marketing and Services at Fusion People – a specialist engineering recruitment company with genuine global reach. 

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