Catterick flood scheme

Key Facts

  • Total cost: £6.2m
  • Fund: Environment
  • Date opened: April 2018
  • Region: North Yorkshire


In September 2012, the Catterick area suffered major flooding which cost the region’s economy more than £2 million. The flooding affected 130 properties and closed the A1 for two days causing huge traffic problems on one of England’s main north-south routes.

With the area prone to flooding in severe weather, better flood protection to the A1 and local properties was vital. To prevent future flooding risk, construction began on a new flood storage reservoir, located between Brough Park and the A1(M) in April 2016.

The reservoir is designed to slow the flow of water through Brough Beck, which previously overflowed in severe weather. This has been managed by putting meanders in the beck and building a control structure incorporating two ‘hydro-brakes’ to control the flow of water. It uses large embankments up to 6m high to hold 91 million gallons of water – which is equivalent to more than 130 Olympic swimming pools.

Before it’s official opening in April 2018 the reservoir effectively dealt with flood water from snow melt streaming down the valley in March 2018. Working as planned, it prevented water from reaching the A1(M) and Catterick village by storing it in the newly-created bowl.  By slowly letting the water flow back out into Brough Beck at the other side at a speed, flooding was alleviated.
This unique and successful scheme was the first time Highways England and the Environment Agency worked together on a jointly-funded flood scheme, with the Environment Agency’s field operations teams delivering the construction work. The bulk of the funding was provided by the Environment Designated Fund. Further funding for the scheme came from the Environment Agency (£1m), Local Levy (£412,000) and North Yorkshire County Council (£200,000).

How the scheme benefits the local environment

Before work began on the site, the team undertook detailed ecological surveys to ensure the impact on local wildlife was minimised during construction.

With careful planning, this wildlife-rich area has been enhanced; offering a haven for local wildlife. Five hectares of new habitat have been created, including wetlands, bat habitats, owl nesting and meadowland. This is also providing a better experience for the public using the local bridleways and paths.

The reservoir has also supported the local population of brown trout, a key feature of Brough Beck, with re-routing increasing fish habitats along the beck.

How the scheme benefits the local economy

The reservoir ensures the A1(M), one of the UK’s key transport routes, remains open with traffic moving safely and freely along it.

The reservoir also offers long-term benefits to local communities and businesses through significantly better flood protection to 149 properties in the area.

“We are always looking for innovative ways to get the most benefit from our flood schemes, and by also creating five hectares of new habitat, this is a fantastic example of how working together can bring multiple benefits for the local community, economy and environment.”  

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency

“This area suffered badly due to severe weather in 2012 and the A1 is a vitally important route which supports the UK economy so we must do all we can to keep traffic moving freely along it. We’re pleased to have worked with partners on this solution which helps protect the local community and lets drivers have safe journeys.” 

Peter Mumford, Executive Director of Major Projects and Capital Portfolio Management at Highways England