The Houghton Brook project team collaborated with partners earlier this month to host the Environment Agency’s first virtual breaking-ground event, marking the first stage of construction of the flood alleviation scheme.

Prompted by the need to engage with stakeholders during coronavirus restrictions for this first milestone of the scheme that will reduce the risk of flooding in Luton, they connected using the Zoom online meetings app.

Participants included local councillors, staff from Luton council, construction company BAM Nuttall, the South Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, which provided some of the funding, and the Environment Agency. They watched a live video showing the first piece of the culvert being installed, followed by a short virtual overview of the site.

The event was introduced by Area Director Sam Lumb, while Flood Risk Manager Darsha Gill spoke about the project and its aims.

Messages of support from partners and local councillors included one describing the virtual ceremony as “an excellent event”.

Luton has a long history of flooding from the River Lea and its tributaries. The Houghton Brook project will benefit approximately 600 residential and commercial properties as well as key roads and other infrastructure.

It is being built to the north of Kestrel Way, next to the M1 motorway, and is due to be completed in spring 2021.

Design by LTD Design Consultants and build by Garganey Consulting.