NORTHWICH’S £7 million flood defences have been put to the test at full kilter for the first time since their installation last year.

The Environment Agency carried out a full test, deployment, inspection and maintenance check on the equipment at Hayhurst Quay and Barons Quay on Wedneday night into Thursday morning.

Since its installation in June 2018, the 1.7km of kit – which includes floodgates and demountable barriers – has been tested and maintained separately, with this exercise on July 4 the first full ‘worst-cast scenario’ test.

The EA’s three-phase plan was enacted by closing floodgates at Waitrose and at the Dane Street bridge, as well as employing the demountable flood defences outside of Wildwood and ODEON.

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Mike Vernon, from the EA’s incident, planning and engagement team, said: “At Waitrose sits the confluence of the River Weaver and Dane.

“Northwich has previously been flooded on several occasions, including 2000 and 2012, distressing residents and costing millions of pounds worth of damage to homes and businesses.

“Last year the EA, along with partners and residents, invested in new flood defences in this urbanised area, including a combination of walls, embankments, increasing ground levels, installing flood gates and demountable flood defences.

“The scheme cost £7m and will increase the standard of protection for more than 400 homes, businesses and a three development sites in the town centre.”

The large-scale contingency test involved teams from Winsford, Sale and Leigh, and also saw Dane Road briefly closed to traffic as flood defences were installed along with two-way traffic operations along London Road.

This channel of demountable defences – made of lightweight aluminium and easily transported and erected by a team of EA engineers.

At Dane Bridge, the two layers of barrier act as a channel to keep the water on the path of the River Dane and preventing it from spilling over towards London Road or Watling Street.

Mike said: “We tested the demountable flood barriers to test our detailed operation plans for deploying the demountable defences and closing the gates in an emergency situation

“We are doing this now while the weather is good to be sure that we can operate the plan in earnest when we need to.”

The floodgates are closed in a matter of minutes and, along with the glass panels, create a seal to protect the urbanised area from floodwater.

Demountable defences, like the one at Barons Quay and Dane Road bridge, are erected in around 45 minutes, with the equipment stored at the Winsford depot but dropped off at Northwich locations during periods of persistent bad weather.

As well as major floods since the turn of the century, an incident in 1946 left 300 homes and businesses underwater.

Residents can also be prepared for flooding by having a plan in place, checking the risk during wet weather, and being ready to respond.

For more information on how to be flood aware, visit or call 0345 988 1188