42. Houghton Brook flood storage area

Themes: Promoting appropriate and sympathetic land management; Improving water quality and water quantity


  • Reduce flood risk
  • Improve existing wildlife corridors
  • Increase the amount and quality of habitat
  • Reduce pollution through physical improvements around the river

Project description

The Environment Agency is currently working on the development of a Flood Storage Area (FSA) to reduce the risk of flooding to people and property along the Houghton Brook and River Lea in Luton.

This project will benefit over 600 residential and commercial properties, as well as key roads and other infrastructure.

Luton has a long history of flooding from the River Lea and its tributaries, in particular where the Houghton Brook joins the River Lea around Toddington Road.

The structure is designed to fill with and hold water at times of heavy rainfall when river levels are high and then allow the water to drain away slowly as river levels reduce. It will consist of an earth embankment to hold back water and a structure to control the flow rate out into the brook. It is anticipated that it will be required once a year or more.

An environmental action plan has been developed from local habitat and species surveys to protect wildlife during the construction of the area. These have also been taken into account when designing the landscape plans for the site. In particular as part of the modified brook and creation of new wetland and woodland areas within the site.

Construction begins on the 18 May 2020, with enabling works such as some tree felling and site clearance. Main construction is scheduled to commence in late-June.

The project is expected to be completed by spring 2021.


For more information about the project please visit our information page.

Funding source: Thames Regional Flood & Coastal Committee, HM Government, SEMLEP and Luton Borough Council
Project start: May 2020
Project end: Spring 2021

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.