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Humber flood defences £29m upgrade begins at Stallingborough

The Environment Agency scheme will see improvements made to 4.5 kilometres of coastal defences along part of the Humber estuary’s south bank. The defences will benefit 2,300 properties, nationally important infrastructure, vital industry, and areas outlined by North East Lincolnshire Council for future development.

This is the third phase of the Stallingborough Sea Defence Improvement Scheme, which has repaired and strengthened sea walls between Immingham and Grimsby in stages over the last 15 years.

This latest stage of work will see the installation of large rocks called rock armour along 3 kilometres of the seaward side of the flood defence. The rocks will cover from the Middle Drain to the northwest to the New Cut Drain to the southeast. The remaining 1.5 kilometres of defences will be repaired. In addition, the 4 river outfalls will also be repaired and improved to make them more sustainable and resilient to flooding.

The majority of the work will be undertaken over 3 years, with pauses through the winter to reduce ecological impacts to the seaward side of the defence.

Dom Freestone, Operations Manager for the Environment Agency, said:

Low-lying communities along the Humber are at high risk of tidal flooding and rising sea levels.

Works to improve the flood defences are vital to manage that threat and will help drive business confidence and investment in the area. But despite our best efforts, flooding can still happen.

That’s why we urge people to prepare and plan for the worst, including by signing up to receive flood warnings by visiting

Rock armour is one of the most sustainable and low-carbon options available and minimises the potential impact on the area’s internationally important habitats. It will help fortify the walls and prevent the sea undermining them, ensuring they continue to reduce flood risk for at least a further 25 years, taking account of climate change predictions.

The work is expected to generate economic benefits valued at £1.1 billion over the next 25 years.

Councillor Stewart Swinburn, Cabinet member for the Environment at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:

Our coastline is an incredibly important one to protect, not only for the wonderful natural habitat, but also for the economic and industrial growth on the South Humber shore”.

The Humber Estuary’s natural tidal flow is something we have to embrace and work with, but by providing this investment in flood protection measures, the risk to people and businesses in this area is significantly less.

Stallingborough’s coastal walls were originally built following devastating floods in 1953. They are now at increasing risk of damage from rising sea levels and more frequent storms.

The Stallingborough Sea Defence Improvement Scheme is part of wider investment plan to manage tidal flood risk across the Humber estuary, outlined within the Environment Agency’s 2008 Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy.

The Environment Agency urges people to plan ahead for flooding by finding out if their property is in an at-risk area; signing up for free flood warnings; and knowing in advance what to do. Further information is available on all these steps and more at Check for flooding – GOV.UK and by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

Notes to editors:

  • The public right of way will be closed due to health and safety risks and will be opened during winter when construction work will be paused.
  • Some minimal culvert works will take place on the landward side of the defence during the winter. However, this will be in less ecologically sensitive areas.
  • The sea walls between Middle Drain and New Cut Drain reduce flood risk for:
    • 2,300 properties (1,280 residential, 1,096 non-residential);
    • nationally important infrastructure including the A180, the Scunthorpe to Grimsby railway line, a power station, sewage treatment works, landfill sites, and the Port of Immingham;
    • major industry including petrochemical, pharmaceutical and manufacturing operations, as well as 27% of the UK’s refinery capacity;
    • internationally important habitats and protected environments; and
    • areas outlined for development in the South Humber Industrial Investment Programme and North East Lincolnshire Council’s Local Plan.
  • The Stallingborough Sea Defence Improvement Scheme has been completed in three phases. Phase 1 saw strengthening of defences between Immingham and Middle Drain and was completed in 2009. Phase 2 in 2012 included repairs to 1.6 kilometres of defences between Middle Drain and Oldfleet Drain. Phase 3 is further fortifying 4.5 kilometres of defences between Middle Drain and New Cut Drain.
  • Phase 3 of the Stallingborough Sea Defence Improvement Scheme is led by the Environment Agency, with most funding and support from Defra, with potentially contributions from other agencies. It is part of ongoing investment in tidal flood risk management around the Humber Estuary.
  • Around £29m was committed to Phase 3 as part of the government’s record £5.2 billion investment in the nation’s flood defences, which aims to reduce the risk of flooding for hundreds of thousands of properties by 2027.
  • The wider Humber Flood Risk Management Strategy was developed to provide a long-term approach to managing tidal flood risk in an area vulnerable to climate change. Since its publication in 2008, there has been more than £150million of investment. This investment is helping to manage the risk of tidal flooding to more than 70,000 properties and important infrastructure around the estuary. In parallel with ongoing investment, the Humber 2100+ partnership is currently developing a new strategy for managing tidal flood risk (including tidal rivers), setting the way forward for the next 100 years.

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