A multi-million pound defence to help protect residents from flooding and keep traffic moving on one of England’s main north-south routes has been officially opened today (Friday 27 April). It is the first time Highways England and the Environment Agency have worked together on a jointly-funded flood scheme that will offer better flood protection to the A1(M) at Catterick and 149 properties in the area. In September 2012, the Catterick area suffered major flooding affecting 130 properties and closing the A1(M) for two days – costing the region’s economy more than £2 million. The new flood reservoir, located between Brough Park and the A1(M), uses large embankments up to 6m high to hold 91 million gallons of water – equivalent to more than 130 Olympic swimming pools.
The scheme will slow the flow of water through Brough Beck, which previously overflowed in severe weather. This has been managed by putting meanders in the beck and building a control structure incorporating two ‘hydro-brakes’ to control the flow of water. Five hectares of new habitat have been created, including wetlands, bat habitats, owl nesting and meadowland. Brown trout are a key feature of Brough Beck and re-routing provides increased fish habitat along the beck. Once the habitat has become established, the area will be a haven for wildlife and provide a better experience for the public using the local bridleways and paths.