THE Environment Agency has unveiled its new flood protection scheme on Liggard Brook, designed to protect houses and farmland in Lytham.

Chief executive of the agency, Ed Gallagher, attended the opening and watched Fylde MP Michael Jack switch on the pumps.

The tidal outfalls on the brook were often forced shut by the incoming tide from the Ribble Estuary, causing the brook to fill rapidly and flood the surrounding area.

The new station can pump three million gallons of water an hour into the estuary to prevent floods happening again.

Clerk of works Joe Murphy said: "The station is fully automatic and should run itself.

"The Environment Agency will monitor the station and make sure everything runs smoothly."

Michael Jack was pleased with the way the community had pulled together to see the project completed.

He said: "It is a credit to the local residents, farmers and the environment agency that this project has become a reality.

"This area used to look like the battle of the Somme when it flooded. Now, that should be a sight we no longer see.

"I would like to pay tribute to those who planned and designed the station, as well as those residents and farmers who had to cope with the difficult conditions."

The £1.5 million station senses the level of water in the brook automatically and switches on one, two or all three of its pumps to cope with the situation.

Heavy rainfall combined with blocked tidal outfalls had caused considerable damage to the area over the years, including mass floods in 1980.

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