Construction has begun on a flood defence wall in Kendal, Cumbria, using a 35mm thick glass/interlayer laminate using Optiwhite and Activ glass from Pilkington UK as part of a scheme to protect more than 1,480 homes and 1,100 local businesses.

The 39-metre wall is the first phase of a wider project to build 6km of flood walls and embankments. This is the first phase of a three-phase scheme where the Environment Agency will deliver further flood defences to protect the most vulnerable homes in the area. In addition, flood storage in the upper catchment with complimentary Natural Flood Management will slow the flow and provide greater resilience.

The glass used as part of the flood wall is a bespoke creation developed in collaboration with Pilkington and chemical and materials manufacturer Kuraray. It features alternating layers of glass and interlayer to create a 35 mm laminate, with toughened Pilkington Activ self-cleaning glass as the outer panes and a toughened 12 mm Pilkington Optiwhite middle pane.

A Kuraray SentryGlas interlayer helps to ensure that the composite structure would still maintain resistance to the dynamic loading and impacts associated with flood waters should the glass be struck and fractured. The design uses the company’s patented technology, which was originally created to withstand severe hurricanes in the United States.

The project became imperative after Storm Desmond caused widespread flooding to the area in 2015, and is being led by the Environment Agency and supported by South Lakeland District Council and Kendal Town Council.

Jonathan Cornthwaite of Kendal Town Council said: “The Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme will and already is proving beneficial for the local community. The safety of our residents is of the utmost importance to us, so the flood wall protecting the area’s most vulnerable whilst preserving the scenic beauty of our town is a welcome addition to Kendal’s riverbanks. And this is just the start – we’re looking forward to broadening protection further in the summer of this year with the next phase of this important community project.

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