Pause, Review, Rethink

October 29, 2019
Featured Image
The River Kent in Kendal. Artist impression of before and after the flood defence wall.

Campaigners and individuals have been busy, attending meetings, lobbying councillors, feeding into consultations, uniting, and meeting with folks in the community and wider catchment area.

We believe Kendal deserves more sympathetic, non-destructive solutions that deliver for Kendal, its people, heritage and environment not unsightly, concrete walls. We are calling for the EA to:

  1. Pause development of all three phases and initiate an urgent independent review of the environmental, cultural, carbon, heritage and amenity impacts, and the costs of the scheme.
  2. Be honest with the people who live and work here about the costs, risks and goals of the scheme, and engage in meaningful co-creation consultation with the whole community in a spirit of openness and inclusivity.
  3. Make public the full details of the EA’s options appraisal.
  4. Address the considerable threat of surface and groundwater flooding rather than merely attempting to contain the river.
  5. Develop natural and non-destructive upstream flood storage and relief measures, develop flood peak storage in existing reservoirs, plant at least one million trees in the catchment as recommended by Kendal Futures, restore and re-meander the river, and carry out targeted gravel removal.
  6. Invest in a scheme that delivers for people, wildlife, heritage, and river. In partnership with local groups, develop a scheme that does not involve concrete walls, tree felling, and huge dams in our river.
  7. Negate tree loss through careful construction and modern arboricultural techniques, including root barriers and root pruning.

Environmental Impact

Almost ALL Kendal’s mature riverside trees will be FELLED. They are essential habitat for wildlife, especially for four local BAT species which SHOULD be protected by U.K. law.

Endangered Atlantic SALMON depend on the upstream riverbed for breeding and spawning at each end of their life-cycle. The huge DAM will impede this and could drive them to local EXTINCTION.

Impending TREE FELLING and construction will ruin the habitat of the Kent’s OTTERS during the breeding season. Dippers, Kingfishers, Crayfish and Bullheads are all in grave danger as the river is CANALISED with CONCRETE.

Riverside mature trees WILL NOT be replaced 6 for 1 as many believe. Most planting will be at Mintsfeet; NOT IN TOWN.

The proposed ‘nature reserve’ area on the edge of town is ALREADY a wild habitat for KESTREL, Otters, Fox and ROE DEER. It will be landscaped as part of the mitigation for environmental habitat damage thus causing EVEN MORE DAMAGE to local species.

Amenity Impact & Tourism

A 6km CONCRETE WALL will OBSCURE the River Kent, and Kendal’s cherished river environment will be DAMAGED beyond repair.

Plans show the devastating loss of 545 MATURE riverside trees, plus PERMANENT cultural damage to the Kendal Conservation Area, the setting of grade II listed PARISH HALL, Miller Bridge & Nether Bridge.

Open fields, trees and hugely important RIVERBANK habitat at Mintsefeet and Kentrigg - popular with walkers, golfers, canoeists, anglers and children - will be DESTROYED if a dam structure and flood storage area for 1.7 MILLION cubic meters of water is built.

Construction Impact & Carbon Emissions

From EA plans, engineers estimate that 3500 tons of concrete and over half a million tons of clay, soil and stone will be brought into the town. An estimated 31,000 HGV JOURNEYS.

This will cause TRAFFIC CHAOS for residents, businesses and visitors, as well as a significant ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.

The likely CARBON EMISSIONS for the scheme are in excess of 2,025 tonnes of CO2; EQUIVALENT TO FLYING A 737 JET 300 TIMES AROUND THE WORLD.

What can you do?

Please sign and share before it's too late! The EA states that the scheme will not protect against another Storm Desmond or even one half it's size or less; just 227 homes and 71 businesses will be better off in a 1 in 20 year flood and more than 20 will be newly at risk of flooding. Pause, Review & Rethink!

Sharon de-Wit
I live in Swaledale and Kendal is our nearest big shopping centre. I’m horrified by these plans which act as a short term measure to help prevent flood damage, but as part of the bigger picture will be driving climate change and will also be detrimental to the existing riverside wildlife. We need mass tree planting on all our hillsides to urgently commence now, to act as carbon stores, wildlife homes and to reduce flood risks. There was a major flood event in Reeth, Swaledale earlier this year, ever since then the hills have been permanently boggy with an almost constant flow of water running from them onto the roads and lanes. This should clearly demonstrate the need for a change in hill management throughout the UK. I would be interested to know if anyone Is studying the impact these boggy hillsides are having on methane production, will organic matter be breaking down anaerobically rather than aerobically? I’m assuming Lakeland hillsides are also in a boggy state.
Pete Burton
I fully support the Pause, Review Rethink ethos.
I believe that people and wildlife will suffer under the proposed scheme and believe it could exacerbate flooding in Kendal and the surrounding area.
Judith Aston
Please pause the scheme to assess the damage that will be done

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