The Environment Agency has completed vital repair work to a flood defence scheme which reduces the risk of flooding to thousands of properties in Surrey.
A routine inspection on the Lower Mole Flood Alleviation Scheme last year revealed erosion to a 30-metre stretch between Island Barn Sluice and the River Thames, near Molesey. Design works were carried out from January to May 2010, with work starting on site in September. Construction was completed last month, although some environmental enhancements will be carried out over the next few weeks.
The scheme, which was built in the 1980s following widespread flooding to areas of Surrey and south London in September 1968, protects around 10,000 properties in the Molesey, Esher and Hersham areas.
The original scheme involved the creation of an engineered flood relief channel which followed the route of the River Ember. The channel is controlled by three large motorised weirs. Raised embankments and flood walls were constructed to protect residential and commercial properties.
Ian Mawdsley, the Environment Agency’s Project Manager, said: “I am extremely pleased that this work has been completed, maintaining the required standard of protection to the local community.
“Doing nothing here was not an option as left in its current state the damaged area would have grown in size - compromising the Environment Agency’s ability to operate and maintain the defences.”
A temporary dam was installed to allow the repair work to be carried out. This ensured that the water level in the main channel was maintained, preventing damage to fish stocks and river habitats.
In addition to the bank repair works, a new 2km access track has been constructed along the top of the flood defences. This ensures that the Environment Agency will be able to operate and maintain the scheme at all times.
Environmental enhancements to be made include planting riverside plant species, improving fishing platforms and installing bat boxes.