FUNDING agreements are nearing completion to clear the way for a £23m flood defence scheme in Warrington.
The Environment Agency scheme was granted planning permission by Warrington Borough Council in April, allowing the agency to construct a series of walls and embankments along the River Mersey and its tributaries to improve flood protection for 2,000 homes and businesses.
Securing funding is the last hurdle to be cleared before construction can begin. Central Government has pledged £17m with the remaining £6m to be contributed by Warrington Borough Council and businesses that will benefit from the works. Agreements for those contributions are said to be nearing completion.
First phase of the programme will see construction of concrete flood walls and earth embankments to help protect 1,500 properties while phases two and three are at the detailed design stages and will reduce the risk to a further 500 properties.
Pete Fox, the agency’s area manager, said: “In 1990 Warrington came very close to a large number of properties being flooded and with increasing sea levels, we can only expect flood risk to increase in the town, so this is fantastic news for the local community.
“Once funding is secured, we hope to begin building the defences in autumn 2012 with construction lasting around three years.”