Project’s dam fine award

Wigan residents take a look at the fast flowing River Douglas Dam, and the new flood scheme at work, at Bottling Wood, Wigan.
Wigan residents take a look at the fast flowing River Douglas Dam, and the new flood scheme at work, at Bottling Wood, Wigan.

A SPECTACULAR new flood prevention scheme in Wigan has scooped a prestigious regional award both for disaster prevention and its eco-friendly features.

The Environment Agency’s (EA) Flood Alleviation Scheme won the Large Project accolade at the annual North West Civil Engineering Awards.

Completed in 2011, the £11.2m enterprise, which features a dam in Coppull Lane, and reinforced concrete walls between Poolstock and the DW Stadium, has improved defences within areas of central Wigan, increasing the level of protection to one in a 100.

Alan Butler, Institute of Civil Engineers North West regional director, said the project had radically improved the safety of central Wigan in the face of potentially serious future water damage.

He said: “The judges were impressed with the concern shown by the project team for landscape design, environment and sustainability, which sit at the heart of this project.

“The use of two large hydrobrakes requires minimal maintenance and this has demonstrated a desire for innovation which has reduced the footprint both of the dam and the earthworks profile.”

Although 1,270 trees in the valley were felled to accommodate the dam, this was compensated for by 3,800 trees replanted at the scheme’s conclusion.

The site clearance produced 356 tonnes of chipped material which was recycled for use as bio-fuel at Shotton power station.

Sally Sudworth, the EA’s North West flood executive, said: “We are proud of the work The Environment Agency is doing to reduce the risk of flooding across the North West.

“These awards are testament to our commitment to working in partnership with communities to identify ways of enhancing the local landscape at the same time as reducing problems.”

John Greenway, EA civil engineer, worked on the design and construction of the scheme.

He said: “Reducing risk in Wigan was complex due to the nature of the River Douglas and its link to the town’s industrial heritage.

“The solution was to combine walls, embankments and a dam across the Douglas Valley to provide water storage.

“This award recognises the achievements of the whole project team in reducing flood risk to the community.”