Houghton Brook (FSA)

The Houghton Brook Flood Storage Area (FSA)

The Environment Agency is working with their delivery partners, BAM Nuttall, and Luton Borough Council, to build a flood storage area on the Houghton Brook to 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 & Coastal Committee, SEMLEP Local Growth Fund and Luton Borough Council.

The project will:

•  Use clay to create an earth embankment. Lorries transporting the clay will use the Woodside Link from the M1 junction, so avoiding residential areas.

•  Create the capacity for over 100,000 cubic metres of water to be held during high risk flood events, equivalent to approximately 40 Olympic swimming pools. It will otherwise remain dry.

•  Re-route the Houghton Brook to ensure the effective operation of the new flow control structure in the Brook.

•  Reinstate the existing footpath, create a new cycle path and open up other new permissive access routes to ensure local people can still use the open space for recreation.

•  Include a programme of landscaping with trees and wildflowers which over time will help the embankment to blend into the landscape.

•  Provide an attractive feature within the new parkland that will be created as part of the Linmere development. Longer term this may include sports facilities and areas for children to play.

Below is a summary of the scheme:

Flood Storage

Flood Storage Proposed Area


Central Bedfordshire Council granted planning permission for the construction of the Flood Storage Area in December 2019.
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. They will ensure the safety of staff, partners and the communities in which they are working in. As this health guidance is updated, they will review and reflect any changes necessary to ensure work is carried out safely on site.

Below are some photos of the site set up:

Flood Storage Images

Rights of Way

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 in 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 Central Bedfordshire’s Code for Construction.

For more information on the project, please visit https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/hnl/the-houghton-brook-flood-storage-area/  

For any questions or concerns, please contact the Environment Agency: HNL-PSO@environment-agency.gov.uk

To view the planning documents, please visit the Council’s planning webpages and search for reference CB/18/03685/FULL https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/info/44/planning/478/view_and_comment_on_planning_applications


Last updated about 1 year ago