Lancashire villagers build flood defence dam after funding snub

Image caption Homes in Churchtown flooded in 2015 and 2016

Flood-hit villagers in Lancashire have built their own defences after they were refused government aid.

Residents of Churchtown took action after being told they were unlikely to get help despite flooding in 2015 and 2016.

They built a £100,000 clay and brick embankment designed by local famers.

The Environment Agency contributed £70,000 and said a new funding approach meant more communities would be allowed to lead flood relief projects.

Siriol Hogg, chair of the Churchtown Flood Action Group, said villagers were left in a state of "constant anguish" by flooding.

The group was undeterred when they were told that they were unlikely to qualify for funding and applied for money from 10 bodies.

Mrs Hogg said the embankment was testament to the village's community spirit, but felt it should not have had to fight.

Image caption Siriol Hogg believes the government should have paid for Churchtown's flood defences

"It's akin to patients being asked to build their own hospital," she said.

The embankment will protect homes from rising levels of the River Wyre.

The Environment Agency said it believed Churchtown was the only resident-built flood relief scheme of its kind in the UK.

The agency's flood risk manager Andy Brown said providing its support and expertise to communities and local authorities who wanted to lead their own projects would mean they were completed quicker.

"Where a community is willing and able to take forward and deliver itself, that's a huge help," he said.

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