Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme

Last Updated: 16 November 2023

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Cumbria and Kendal flood risk background

Cumbria is highly vulnerable to flooding, with many ‘rapid response’ catchments and settlements located within vulnerable valley bottom locations. Kendal, in the River Kent catchment has a long history of flooding, with more recent major events experienced in 2004, 2005, 2009 and in 2015.

Storm Desmond in December 2015 saw record breaking rainfall on already very saturated catchments across Cumbria. In Kendal over 2,276 properties suffered significant impacts, either directly due to flooding, or impacts resulting from main infrastructure damage and closure.

Kendal’s close proximity to the M6 motorway makes Kendal and the A6 a critical diversion route when the M6 north or south bound is closed. The M6 from J36 upwards are affected fairly regularly throughout the winter months due to adverse weather conditions. The M6 is the main supply route between England and Scotland.

Kendal economic background

Kendal is the main service centre for 137,000 residents in the South Lakeland area who rely on it for provision of vital services and employment. It is Cumbria’s third largest key service centre with 17,000 jobs and represents a significant part of the Cumbrian economy and employment base. Kendal includes five strategically important business and employment sites, including key industrial areas that employ over 6,500 people, worth £140m Gross Value Added (GVA) per annum to the economy and delivering 40% of Kendal’s GVA per annum. (GVA is one way of measuring the contribution made to an economy by individual producers, industries, sectors or regions. The figure is a quantitative assessment of the value of goods and services produced minus the cost of inputs and materials used in the production process).

Kendal's Flood Risk Management Scheme

The multi-million pound scheme being delivered by the Environment Agency (EA) consists of:

  • construction of raised linear walls and embankments along the Rivers Mint and Kent in North Kendal down to the Helsington Mills, designed to reduce the risk and impact of flooding on businesses and residents in Kendal
  • construction of a pumping station at Gooseholme on the confluence of the River Kent and Stock Beck in central Kendal
  • construction of new, and/or improvement to existing cycling and walking routes designed to improve access for all, in particular to provide sustainable connectivity for commuters to the nearby schools, places of work and Kendal town centre
  • restoration of sections of land along the River Kent at Beezon Fields and further upstream at Mintsfeet, creating improved public amenity areas and green space through the integration of new riverside walking routes, art and educational play features as well as extensive new tree and shrub planting to create improved habitat for wildlife, which once established will enhance the biodiversity of the river corridor. 
  • interpretation and information boards in Kendal to explain the purpose of the scheme, provide opportunities to signpost to areas of interest within the town which will enhance people’s experience within the area

Once delivered in full, this flood risk management scheme will reduce flood risk to the most vulnerable homes and businesses within Kendal. Details of the full scheme are available on the The Flood Hub.

Project delivery

The Environment Agency is in charge of all three phases of the scheme and is responsible for the design, implementation and delivery. Contractor VBA has been appointed to construct the Kendal scheme. Any queries relating to the scheme should be directed to the Environment Agency:

Website: The Flood Hub Kendal
Social media:

Our role

We are the Planning Authority for the Kendal phase and is the responsible authority for the European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) outlined below.

Full Planning permission for the Kendal phase was approved in June 2019, Planning Reference Number SL/2018/0925. Other planning applications associated with the Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme are:

TR/2019/0170: trial pits various locations in Kendal
SL/2020/0560: discharge of conditions
SL/2020/0746: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2020/0837: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2020/0838: discharge of conditions
SL/2020/0935: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2020/0952: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2020/0975: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0059: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0060: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2021/0094: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0104: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2021/0109: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0357: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0419: listed building application
SL/2021/0653: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2021/0681: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0710: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2021/0723: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0749: discharge of conditions
SL/2021/0750: application for a non-material amendment
SL/2021/0829: discharge of conditions
SO/2021/0001: scoping opinion

To view a planning application you can search the planning register. Input the planning reference number in the Planning Application Number box and press 'search'.


Kendal Phase 1 is receiving £5.34 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 to 2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses and local community regenerations and create jobs.

For more information:

Wider scheme

Kendal is the first phase of a much wider scheme which will help reduce flooding in Burneside, Ings and Staveley.  Linear defences, improved conveyance as well as upstream measures which include flood storage and complimentary Natural Flood Management are all features of the overall scheme. Further information on the wider scheme can be found at Upper Kent | The Flood Hub

Overall responsibility for Flood Risk Management

The responsibility for flood risk management is shared between the Environment Agency (main river fluvial flooding), Westmorland and Furness Council, Highways England (main infrastructure/roads, including bridges), and Lake District National Park Authority as the local Planning Authorities.