Consultancy advises on flood defences to safeguard 400 jobs

30 July 2019 3 min. read
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A property consultancy has collaborated with fluid sealing products manufacturer James Walker to design flood defences for its manufacturing site. The plans from Cluttons will now help to safeguard 400 jobs in Cumbria.

James Walker is a global manufacturing organisation that supplies a vast range of high performance fluid sealing products and associated knowledge-based services to virtually every sector of industry. The group’s worldwide network of companies has 11 production, engineering, distribution and customer support sites in the UK, and a further 40 spread across Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia, South Africa and the US.

In the UK, the firm’s Cockermouth site in Cumbria is one of the region’s largest employers. However, it has been facing an uncertain future, after floods in 2009 and 2015 left the plant underwater. As a result, the firm recently secured a £2.6 million investment from the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership to secure the jobs of more than 400 staff in Cumbria, and has since moved to strengthen its flood defence system at its Cockermouth site.

Consultancy advises on flood defences to safeguard 400 jobs

Following detailed surveys of the site by specialist flood design and civil engineering consultancy Cluttons, a plan was approved to build defences around the buildings at Gote Brow, with work commencing in the summer of 2018. Cluttons employs over 240 staff through a network of offices in the UK, providing a wide range of commercial and residential property services, including asset management, valuation, corporate services, telecoms and consulting.

The Cluttons team led by Ian Paton, which has extensive experience in flood risk consultancy, provided detailed ground water monitoring and flood risk assessment to ensure the risk to the site was accurately determined. The team also designed and project managed the installation of flood defence schemes to ensure the buildings and facilities are protected now and in the future.

Mark Brook, Manufacturing Director at James Walker, commented, “The Cluttons team were vital to developing effective flood defences which will help safeguard existing jobs and pave the way for growth. We have ambitious development plans which will see in the region of £10m being invested by the James Walker Group in reinforcing the position of our Cockermouth site as a global centre of excellence for the manufacture and development of elastomeric materials and components." 

The completed project now sees a series of mechanisms in place to secure the future of the manufacturing hub. A flood wall around the firm's production buildings made from sheet piling and automated floodgates built-in for the main vehicle access points and pedestrian floodgates at key access points will help keep rising waters at bay, while two high-volume pumping stations have also been installed, with a capacity to pump over 21,000 litres of water per minute.

Ian Paton, head of flood risk at Cluttons, said, “The project was complex with the Cockermouth site having been badly hit by flooding twice. We have provided a complete flood risk consultancy and developed a defence strategy to ensure that the future of the business is safeguarded from flooding.