Flooding and flood risk management

Houghton Brook flood alleviation scheme

The Environment Agency is working (with its delivery partner, BAM Nuttall, and Luton Borough Council) to build a flood storage area on the Houghton Brook. This will reduce the risk of flooding to approximately 600 properties in Luton. This critical infrastructure will be built to the north of Kestrel Way, next to the M1 motorway.

The total cost of the project is £8.5 million and it is funded by Defra, Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, SEMLEP Local Growth Fund and Luton Borough Council.

The project will:

  • import clay to create an earth embankment that will hold in excess of 100,000 cubic metres of water during high risk flood events, but will otherwise remain dry
  • reinstate the existing footpath, create a new cycle path and open up other new permissive access routes
  • realign this stretch of the Houghton Brook
  • include a programme of landscaping with trees and wildflowers
  • provide an attractive feature within the new parkland that will be created as part of the Linmere development

Work began on 18 May 2020, with some site clearance and setting up the site compound. This work was supervised by an ecologist to ensure that there was no impact on nesting birds or other wildlife. If nesting birds are found on the site, BAM Nuttall will move operations to ensure the nest remains safe and the birds can fledge undisturbed. Main construction activities are planned to start in late June and the project is expected to be completed by spring 2021.

BAM Nuttall will be following the latest guidelines from Public Health England regarding safe working on construction sites during the coronavirus pandemic. It will ensure the safety of staff, partners and the communities in which they are working in. As this health guidance is updated, it will review and reflect any changes necessary to ensure work is carried out safely on site.

The existing right of way and cycle path along Houghton Brook will be temporarily closed in the summer and diverted around the site to keep the public safe during construction. The cycle path will initially remain open, but will need to be closed as the embankment starts to take shape. Alternative access will be available via Kestrel Way and the cycle paths adjacent to the Woodside Link. The replacement right of way, footpath and cycle path should be ready to open later in 2020 or 2021.

The Environment Agency and BAM Nuttall apologise for any inconvenience caused while they make these improvements. All work will be undertaken with appropriate social distancing and safety measures in line with government guidance and following the code for construction.

Visit GOV.UK for more information on the project.

View the planning application.

Who to contact for questions

For any questions or concerns, please contact the Environment Agency:

Email: hnl-pso@environment-agency.gov.uk