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Levens pumps stay on indefinitely - and community wins a further two year reprieve for Lyth Valley pumps

July 16, 2013 2:04 PM

Lyth Valley viewSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has thanked the community, NFU, RSPB, local councillors and others for their work on the long running campaign to deal with flooding and drainage issues in the Lyth Valley.

Tim has met ministers many times on the issues and has asked them to support the retention of the pumps which protect homes and farm land from flooding. The Environment Agency in 2012 had given notice that the pumps would be switched off soon if there was no local scheme set up to pay for them. Tim has worked with local farmers to fight off these plans.

If the pumps were turned off, there would be a serious risk of flooding and could cause untold damage for local businesses, farmers and the 2,500 residents who live in an area much of which is a mere 15 feet above sea level.

Tim, since 2010 has pushed the government to re-think the plans. Tim has today received a formal letter from Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, which shows that this pressure has achieved some success. In the letter the minister states:

"A draft watercourse and pumping management plan has been prepared which involves the Agency withdrawing from the operation of two pumping stations (Johnscales and Pool Bridge) by December 2015, and from two others (Sampool and Ulpha) on a slightly longer timescale. The Agency propose to continue to fund the operation of the Levens Catchwater Pumping Station for the time being as this provide flood protection to property in Levens village."

This means that Levens' pump will continue to run indefinitely to protect the village from flooding and that an extra two years will be given to farmers and the community to come up with a solution for the rest of the LythValley.

Tim said: "Throughout the last three years, I have made the case to the government that they must not let homes flood in Levens and that farm land in the Lyth Valley should be protected, so the news that the Levens pump will stay on is great news. But we must now sort out the rest of pumps.

"The Lyth valley makes a valuable contribution to food production in our area as well as being home to some 2500 residents and a number of businesses. So this letter is encouraging news and is a real success for our local campaigning. Local farmers including County Councillor Jim Bland have worked hard to make the case for a long term solution, and I'm really grateful to them. I also want to thank the NFU, RSPB and residents for all working together on this. We now have the time we need to come up with a long term solution."