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As a canalised river, the Weaver does not generally flood. Water flow is managed by the sluice gates. But at times, rain is so heavy for a prolonged period that the river cannot disgorge the water fast enough. This can be exacerbated by broken sluice gates, faulty storm drains and other factors.
The Weaver flooded in 1946 and again in 2019 and after Storm Christoph in January 2021. The latter badly damaging businesses in Northwich and homes in Acton Bridge and Weaverham. It was said to be a once in a 100 year event but with climate change, we fear flooding will be more frequent.
The RWNS is campaigning for action to protect houses and businesses. We were disappointed by the “Section 19” reports on recent flood events, by the refusal of the Government to release flood resilience grants in 2021 and lack of concrete action.
Part of the problem is that the Environment Agency is one of the Flood Risk Management Authorities but does not control the sluice gates. These are controlled by the Canal and River Trust, whose remit is to maintain the navigation not flood risk, and who are anyway poorly funded. United Utilities and the Cheshire West and Chester unitary local authority are also Flood Risk Management Authorities.
Although there is a flood barrier in Northwich its use was compromised by drainage issues in 2021. Long-term solutions to minimise flood risk in Northwich Town Centre are currently being investigated by Cheshire West and Chester Council, through the development of an “integrated catchment model”.
We believe the best and most cost effective way to reduce future flood damage is through natural flood management on the upper Dane, to hold water back in a storm and give the Weaver time to disgorge the deluge.
Join us to help us campaign for action. We have managed to get BBC TV coverage to keep the issue live and galvanise action and we are working with others to bring change.