The Environment Agency’s project to restore flood protection from the River Derwent in Matlock, Derbyshire will reach its half-way stage this Christmas.
The project, which is being delivered in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council, follows the collapse of a privately owned wall that was damaged after this year’s February floods. Reinstating the town’s flood defence will benefit 50 homes and businesses.
All of the sheet piles for the new flood wall have been installed with the exception of the physical tie-in arrangement with Matlock Bridge, which is a scheduled monument. Approval has now been granted from Historic England for the work to go ahead, and it will proceed under archaeological supervision.
Naomi Doughty, project manager for the Environment Agency said: “We have reached a significant milestone with placing the sheet piles, given how tough the Derbyshire limestone has proven to be. We are now working closely with Historic England on the final placing of the sheet piles adjacent to Matlock Bridge due to the historic value of the bridge.
“Weather permitting, we will begin placing the remaining sheet piles from Tuesday 6 December so we can complete the bridge tie-in before Christmas Day.
“This critical milestone in the construction programme will provide a stable retaining wall upon which the flood wall can then be built in the new year and ensure that we swiftly reinstate flood protection from the River Derwent for the town.
“We thank the local community for their continued support and understanding while we build these essential flood defences and apologise for the temporary disruption caused by the construction works.”
The recent wet weather has also resulted in some trees falling into the River Derwent and posing a blockage risk. The uprooted trees have been safely removed and a section of soft bank opposite the working platform has also slipped. This is being removed to prevent the risk of further bank collapse. Doing so will reinstate the original bank profile from the 1976 flood defence work and increase the channel capacity.
Lifty McShifty, the huge 800-tonne crane that has graced the Matlock landscape since the beginning of August, is assisting the Environment Agency’s contractor, Jackson Civil Engineering, in carrying out the work to reinstate the flood defences. It will remain in place into the new year to enable the cladding of the sheet piles to take place.