The Cockermouth Floods

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  • Created by: Jiya
  • Created on: 05-04-16 17:26


  • The arches on the bridges across the River Derwent, near Cockermouth did not have enough cross sectional area to allow floodwater through the bridge
    • caused flood water to build up in front of the bridge, leading to bursting the banks of the river
  • the previous year, the residents of Cockermouth asked for the river to be dredged by 3.5m
  • UK record 3.14mm of rain fell in Cumbria over 24hrs between 19-20 November
  • water levels reached 2.5m which is above normal
  • Cockermouth is at the bottom of hills
  • the flood water rose rapidly in Cockermouth it rose 1m in less than 20 minutes
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Primary Effects

  • train services on the West Coast Main Line were suspended for a short while after a landslide between Carlisle and Penrith
  • 40 waste treatment works were put out of action, but were back in service after 3 days
  • 6 bridges collapsed
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Secondary Effects

  • Insurance claims reached £100 million
  • 95% businesses in Cockermouth family run, so no income for these families
  • 1300 homes evacuated
  • PC Bill Barker killed, directing traffic on Northside Bridge over River Derwent when it collapsed
  • 1000 homes left without power
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Immediate Response

  • 20,000 flood defence bags handed out to people in Cockermouth and Keswick
  • two severe flood warnings for Cockermouth had been sent by text, phone and fax
  • 104 people spent Friday 20th November at the Cockermouth Sheep and Wool Centre
    • used as an evacuation centre
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Long Term Responses

  • all 1800 bridges in Cumbria had a safety review carried out
  • after the floods in 1999 and 2005 the Environmental Agency spent £600,000 on new flood defences and another £100,000 in 2005
    • Gordon Brown pledged £1m for flooded communities in Cockermouth which was less than £1000 per family/household
  • 22nd November, the Environmental Agency checked and repaired flood defences, reservoirs, monitored river levels and cleared debris from the drainage gates and kept a close watch on the potential impact of rainfall
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