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£1.6M flood relief for Cornwall’s largest freshwater lake

aerial of loe pool for web

Loe Pool in Cornwall is undergoing £1.6M flood relief work after a tunnel collapsed late last year.

The Environment Agency has already installed a 180m, 1.8m diameter new flood relief pipe for Loe Pool beneath the sand bar, after the original tunnel collapsed and became blocked in December 2017.

Loe Pool lies on the River Cober and is the largest freshwater lake in Cornwall. Retained by a large barrier beach, there is no natural outfall, and it had discharged to the sea through a rock tunnel excavated by hand in the 1860s. 

This tunnel, which runs along the base of the cliffs and discharges around 150m to the west of the pool, will reduce flood risk to properties in Helston and ensure water levels are managed to maximise the environmental potential of the lake.

During prolonged wet weather the inflows from the River Cober regularly exceed capacity causing the lake level to rise, and if left could flood up to 130 houses in Helston.

The Environment Agency has brought forward the first phase of the £4M Helston, River Cober Flood Alleviation Scheme, which includes this first phase, costing £1.6M, for the work at Loe Pool.

Work began in March 2018 and is due to be completed soon. The next stage includes working on the inlet and outlet structures in August.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said; “The work is incredibly challenging due to the exposed working conditions, the dangerous sea conditions and mobile sand on which we are working. 

“Work on the new outfall structure on the beach is due to be completed in late August. Work will then be able to be done to repair the original rock tunnel. The new structure and the pipe itself will ultimately be buried under the sand and the beach should appear the same as it was before the works.”

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