As part of agreeing our Business Plan for the period 2020-25 with our economic regulator, Ofwat, we are in discussions with them about investment in a number of schemes to improve our region’s resilience to factors such as climate change and urban creep, with regard to future flooding risk.
Our future plans include the proposed Harton and The Nook flood risk management and reduction project and you will know from past updates, we had expected to start work on this £8.5m investment to reduce the risk of flooding in the area, benefiting hundreds of residents, in the first quarter of 2020. The project would include new and upgraded sewers, storage tanks, and opportunities within Cleadon Park to intercept and slow down surface water runoff.
Based on the draft determination we have received from Ofwat and discussions with them to date, there is a significant risk that Ofwat will not allow us the funding to deliver our risk reduction programme.
With this in mind, we cannot currently commit to the Harton and The Nook scheme. We expect Ofwat to finalise funding details in December, at which point we will have a clearer picture about the future of this scheme and we will, of course, update you.. In the meantime, it is our intention to work with customers most directly affected to explore and implement property level protection measures, where possible and where they can be most effective.
We appreciate this news is disappointing, but we would like to assure you that we are working with partners to petition for a positive outcome. We know that our customers want us to invest more in ensuring our network is resilient for the future, and we want to deliver that for them.