£34m scheme to protect Warrington from flooding is completed

A £34 million flood defence scheme has been completed to protect more than 2,000 homes and businesses in Cheshire, the Environment Agency said.

The scheme, which is being officially opened on Friday, brings increased flood protection to nine residential and public areas in Warrington, which sits on low-lying land within the path of the River Mersey and tributaries.

The scheme, which consists of 5km (3 miles) of flood walls and 2.2km (1.4 miles) of embankment, has also seen the widening and clearing of formerly impassable footpaths, extensive tree planting and wildlife habitat creation.

A 500-metre section of Padgate Brook, which runs into the River Mersey, has been realigned to create a more natural look and five hectares (12 acres) of reed bed habitat has been established to attract wildlife such as water voles.

The majority of the funding for the scheme, some £29 million, came from the Government, with Warrington Borough Council and Scottish Power also contributing to protect the town and key infrastructure.

Sir James Bevan, Environment Agency chief executive, said: "The scheme not only brings flood risk benefits but the work in the area is also good news for walkers, birdwatchers and wildlife.

"It's been great to see the Environment Agency working together in partnership to better protect Warrington - a fine example of what can be achieved by working with others.

"These new flood defences will not only benefit hundreds of homes and businesses in the area but will also safeguard critical infrastructure, vital in keeping the town moving."

Floods Minister Therese Coffey said: "Warrington's new £34 million flood scheme will reduce the flood risk to over 2,000 homes and businesses, and protect vital infrastructure helping to bring investment to the area. "

Hans Mundry, Warrington Borough Council's executive board member for public realm, said: "The work done by the Environment Agency will bring peace of mind to many Warrington people as we work together to protect homes and businesses along the Mersey.

"It is more than just functional though, as you will see if you take a walk by the river. It is an attractive addition to the waterfront and has improved the ecology and helped protect wildlife in the area."