COMMITTED councillors are working with highways authorities to combat flood risk in Egremont — ahead of £8m of flood defence work.

Sam Pollen, Neil Ferguson and Michael McVeigh, who represent Copeland Council and Egremont Town Council, want to ensure a "robust schedule of drain and gulley maintenance" is in place around the town before the work gets started.

They have delivered a letter to around 250 homes in Orgill, Castle Croft and Castle Walk areas, updating residents on the situation and advising them where to seek help.

It said: "Work is due to start next April, will take 18 months to complete and is expected to make a significant improvement to long-standing flooding issues in the area.

"But although major improvements are on their way, the recent rainfall brought by Storm Callum acted as a prompt reminder for us all of the need to be vigilant.

"Intermediate measures that have been put in place by engineers are working, and are demonstrated by the fact that no properties were flooded in Orgill when Storm Callum came.

"These immediate measures have included an overflow area by Dryden Way.

"But until the major work is complete, Copeland Council and your Egremont councillors would like to inform residents that we are working with the highways authorities to ensure that a robust schedule of drain and gulley maintenance is in place.

"As the major project gets under way, you will notice an increase in activity and we will keep you informed on the progress."

In July this year, the Government's Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP announced an extra £1.6m in funding, taking the total to £8m.

The Environment Agency, which hopes to protect 220 properties with its plan, held public consultation in November last year, revealing it hopes to complete the scheme by autumn 2020.

The project will see three flood storage areas built on land at How Bank Farm, near Whangs Beck and on sports pitches at West Lakes Academy and the SASRA social club.

These would take excess water from the beck during severe weather.

Sandbag storage garages at Dryden Way and Milton Road – that were used during Storm Callum – have had their stock replenished.

For access, residents must contact the councillors: Mr McVeigh – 01946 820703/07979080206

Mr Ferguson – 01946 824328/07775547500

Mr Pollen – 01946 824252/07770876201

In the case of a flooding emergency, call Copeland Council's 24-hour service on 01946 598300.