A £1.2m project to update two pumping stations that reduce flood risk and drain low lying agricultural areas into the River Hull is complete.
Located between Driffield and Beverley, the Hempholme and Wilfholme pumping stations have been refurbished to extend their working life so they can continue to function, draining land and reducing flood risk in the area during periods of heavy rainfall, more efficiently and effectively into the future.
The pumping stations were constructed in the 1970s and are currently owned and operated by the Environment Agency.
They are important for land drainage and managing flood levels in the upper reaches of the River Hull by working to pump water from the lowland drainage network into the river.
The project is a partnership between East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the Environment Agency and the Beverley and North Holderness Internal Drainage Board, which have been working on the scheme for a number of years.
The refurbishment work to the pumping stations, which has been completed by the Environment Agency, has been funded entirely through partnership contributions, one of the first arrangements of its kind in the country.
This project has been supported with £840,000 from the Government’s Local Growth Fund, which was secured by the Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as part of the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse. This is in addition to a £360,000 funding contribution from the Beverley and North Holderness Internal Drainage Board and an allocation of £100,000 of Flood Risk Management Grant in Aid from Defra for project contingency.
The improved pumping stations will reduce the risk of flooding to 348 hectares of land either side of the River Hull which includes a number of commercial properties.
The scheme included the purchase and installation of new control mechanisms and a full refurbishment of all the pumping units.
Councillor Chris Matthews, portfolio holder for environment and climate change at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “This project has been made possible thanks to great partnership working established through the River Hull Integrated Catchment Strategy.
“We welcome the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP’s view in prioritising flood risk investment and including this important strategy in their Investment Plan.
“We’re very pleased to be supporting this project, showing our continued commitment to tackling funding challenges in the River Hull catchment.
“The works which will ensure the pumping stations continue to provide a reliable means of lifting surface water in the lower level land drainage system into the high-level system.
“The investment will also reduce the ongoing operation costs by introducing more efficient pumps.”
Bill Symons, clerk to the Beverley and North Holderness Internal Drainage Board, said: “The board is delighted that the refurbishment of these two pumping stations has been completed.
“The pumps will now be ready for the wetter winter months and help to manage runoff following heavy rainfall and day to day flows. Thus sustaining the land which these pumping stations drain as highlighted in the River Hull Integrated Catchment Strategy.
“The implementation of this work has ensured that the pumping stations have modern reliable electrical controls and efficient pumping equipment to give good economic service and reliability for the future.
“We are particularly grateful to the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP for investing in this project with the board along with the Environment Agency delivering and supporting the works through a global pandemic and keeping the stations in service through quite challenging circumstances whilst the work was ongoing.”
Paul Stockhill, area flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We understand the difficulties faced by landowners in low lying areas, the challenges flooding presents locally, and particularly the impact on agriculture.
“The refurbishment of the Hempholme and Wilfholme pumping stations will make our pumping more effective and resilient.
“The pumping station refurbishment forms part of our wider strategy to work with partners and the farming community to manage flood risk along the whole of the River Hull catchment.
“Our strength is in our partnership approach and I am delighted that by working together with the Local Enterprise Partnership, Beverley and North Holderness Internal Drainage Board and East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Defra we have been able to complete this project.”
James Newman, chair of Hull and East Yorkshire LEP, said: “We’re very pleased to work with our regional partners to support efforts to reduce flood risk in our communities through our allocation of the Local Growth Fund.
“Flooding causes misery for residents and businesses, including farms, affected by such events. Ensuring pumping stations are fit for purpose and can handle unexpected volumes of water is one important way to help reduce the risk.
“We are positive the improvements now complete on the Hempholme and Wilfholme pumping stations will provide lasting protection for those situated in this area close to the River Hull.”