Holderness Drain

The Holderness Drain catchment covers an area of low lying agricultural land which drains water from the Yorkshire Wolds through to the Humber Estuary.

Site of the proposed Aquagreen.
A photo of the existing land where the Aquagreen is being proposed.
Holderness Drain during high flows after heavy rainfall upstream.

Our story

by Holderness Drain

In 2016, a grant from the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund Programme enabled Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council to purchase the site at Castlehill to provide space for a flood storage area.

In April 2017, the Environment Agency held a public event in the Guildhall in Hull to present our proposals for several flood risk management projects in the city, including the initial concepts for the Holderness Drain Flood Alleviation Scheme.

In 2018, we looked at the different options and funding available to determine the best approach to solving the problem of flooding in the North Carr and Sutton areas. This involved modelling water flows in the catchment to help us understand how it behaves in both normal and flood conditions. Using the results from this, we developed a plan for the site that provides environmental and social benefits as well as reducing flood risk.

In July 2019, we secured sufficient funding to enable work to start on the design of the pumping station and the aquagreen.

In January 2020, we obtained planning consent to start work on the pumping station.

In May 2020, construction of East Hull Pumping Station started.

In August and September 2020, we carried out a public consultation to gather feedback on our proposals for the Castlehill Aquagreen.

In spring and summer 2021, we continued to develop designs for the aquagreen following feedback responses from the consultation. This led to some revisions of the earlier scheme proposals, to include additional work on several drains within the scheme boundaries.

In November 2021, we submitted an application for planning consent for the Castlehill Aquagreen to both Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Our advice

The Holderness Drain catchment covers an area of low lying agricultural land which drains water from the Yorkshire Wolds through to the Humber Estuary, on the eastern side of Hull. Managing water in this catchment is particularly difficult as the land is flat and often below sea level at high tide. This means that water in the Holderness Drain empties into the Humber very slowly and needs to be assisted by pumping stations along the way. After periods of heavy rainfall, water levels in the Drain can remain high for many days, posing a risk of flooding to homes and businesses within the catchment.

Large areas of Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire were badly flooded in July 2007 following heavy rainfall, with thousands of homes and businesses inundated. The North Carr and Sutton areas, on the eastern side of Hull, were particularly affected by these floods.

Following this traumatic event, MPs, local authorities and local people campaigned for more investment in flood protection. In response to this, the Environment Agency has continued to work with partners to find ways to reduce flood risk in Hull and the surrounding area.

A range of different options were considered for the Holderness Drain catchment. The need to do something has become more urgent as the old pumping station in East Hull, built in 1949 to help to pump high water flows, has now reached the end of its working life and needs to be replaced.

The scheme plans have been changed, as we found an alternative way of reducing flood risk. Revising our original design, means that we no longer need to dig a new drain across the site, or create additional depressions for water storage. The site will still function as a flood storage area but hold water across a wider area. The revised proposals have an estimated 50% lower carbon impact (800 tonnes), than the original design would have had. This together with the associated landscaping proposals, support the Environment Agency’s ambition to reach Net Zero by 2030.

Our metrics

Number of homes, businesses and area of land that will benefit from the scheme (870, 116, 1800 hectares, respectively).
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