Holderness Drain Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) - Information Page

Closes 31 Dec 2021

Opened 14 Aug 2020


Welcome to the Holderness Drain Flood Alleviation Scheme Information Page.

We have created this page to provide easy access to information on the Holderness Drain Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS), including background information on flood risk and a summary of our proposals to reduce the risk of flooding to homes in the North Carr and Sutton areas of Hull.

We will be updating this page as we progress this scheme so please keep checking for what’s new.


During the Coronavirus pandemic, the Environment Agency is following government guidance to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Our priorities are to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our staff, our partners, businesses and the communities we work in. We have adapted our working practices to meet all requirements resulting from this. This means that we continue to be prepared to respond to an environmental incident such as flooding or pollution. You can still report any incidents on the telephone numbers given below. We are also following government instructions to continue working on the construction and maintenance of flood risk management schemes. These are essential to protect lives and livelihoods. If you see our staff or our contractors working on site, you can be sure that they are following safe ways of working and will not put anyone at risk. If the work cannot be done safely, it will stop. Please accept our assurance that we are doing all we can to ensure work continues as much as possible, and that any delays caused by the pandemic are kept to an absolute minimum. We will continue to review the situation in light of further advice from the government. Our latest position is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency Customer service line: 03708 506 506
Incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60
Floodline: 03459 881188


The Holderness Drain Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) is a £28 million project to reduce flood risk for homes and businesses from the Holderness Drain.

The scheme involves work at two sites:

  1. in East Hull we are replacing the existing pumping station with a new one; and
  2. at Castlehill we want to create an aquagreen (a versatile green space that can temporarily store excess water during a flood and then slowly release it back into the drainage system after the peak of the flood has passed - also called a 'flood storage area'). This will reduce the risk of flooding to existing homes, mainly in the North Carr and Sutton areas of Hull.

Together both components of the scheme will provide a long term and more sustainable approach to managing water in the Holderness Drain catchment.

This is a partnership project, led by the Environment Agency and supported by our partners, Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Highways England and Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund Programme.

Parter and funder logos

Please note that our proposals for an aquagreen at Castlehill are completely separate to the proposals you may have already seen or heard about for housing on land to the south of this site at East Carr. If you have any questions about this, please contact Hull City Council.

Why is the scheme needed?

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. 

Homes flooded in Hull in 2007.  Photo courtesy of Ellie Hardy 

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.

What's happened so far

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.

2017 - in April 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.

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.

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

What’s happening now

Jan 2020 - we obtained planning consent to start work on the pumping station. 

May 2020 - construction of East Hull Pumping Station started.

Aug/Sept 2020 - from the 24th August until the 28th September we are seeking feedback on our proposals from anyone with an interest in the Castlehill Aquagreen (see 'Give us Your Views' below).

Oct 2020 – final design plans developed for the aquagreen following feedback responses from the consultation.

Dec 2020 - we intend to apply for planning consent for the Castlehill Aquagreen at the end of this year.   

Looking Forward

We anticipate that work on the new pumping station will be completed by December 2021.

We currently intend to start work on site at Castlehill in 2021.

More details about the scheme

East Hull Pumping Station

In May this year we started work to build the new pumping station in East Hull.  This will be located on the Holderness Drain just above the point where it flows into the Humber estuary.  Given the isolated and industrial nature of this site and the fact that there is no public access to it, there will be minimal disturbance to the public during construction.


Work has started on the new pumping station at East Hull

Benefits of the scheme

The new pumping station in East Hull will be more energy efficient than the old pumps, using modern technological designs.  It will also be less harmful to fish than the existing pumps.

January 2021 update:

Work is continuing on the excavation of a bypass flume channel to divert the drain around the footprint of the new pumping station, with the next phase of piling due to commence on the 25th January.

November 2020 update:

Work has started on building a ‘cofferdam’ on the east side of the drain, using sheet piling to create a flume channel so that water can be temporarily diverted round the middle of the channel but still able to drain into the estuary.  This will leave the centre of the drain dry, enabling the contractors to build the pumping station there.  As the photograph shows, the new structures are quite substantial (over 6 metres high) and require specialist equipment to put them in place.

During November the installation of sheet piling will be completed and then the new flume channel needs to be excavated. At the same time work has started on the west side of the channel to prepare an access ramp for piling on the west side.

As a result of delays in the summer (partly bad weather and also problems with the hinge on the existing tidal doors) the work is now scheduled to be completed in spring 2022.

When finished, the pumping station will operate four pumps, capable of pumping up to 10 cubic meters of water per second out of the Holderness Drain into the estuary, to help reduce the risk of flooding in the Holderness Drain catchment. The pumps will be activated when heavy rain leads to high water levels in the drain and simultaneously high tides prevent water flowing naturally into the Humber.

Diagram of the pumping station, seen from the Humber Estuary side, showing the pipes from the four pumps taking water from the drain.


Castlehill Aquagreen

We are planning to create an aquagreen (a flood storage area) at Castlehill, next to the Bransholme estate. The area allocated for this is marked in red on the map below. Like the aquagreens built in other parts of Hull, the site will be dry in normal weather conditions when it can be used as green space for people and wildlife.  It only stores water during a flood, releasing it slowly back into the drain once the peak of the flood has passed and so reducing the risk of flooding to homes and businesses in the neighbourhood.  

At Castlehill this will involve building a new embankment and rerouting an existing drain on the site to create the aquagreen.  More information about these plans will be available later this month (August 2020), displayed in the dropdown 'box' below.

Benefits of the scheme

In addition to reducing flood risk by providing storage for flood water, the scheme at Castlehill can bring both environmental and social benefits to the neighbourhood. It will create an area of green space, offering opportunities for people to walk, cycle, ride and relax there, along with new habitats for wildlife. We would like to make improvements to the site such as planting new areas of woodland and installing a better network of footpaths.

We would like to hear your views on the proposals. You can find out more by following the link below in ‘Give Us Your Views’.  The consultation will run from the 24th August until 28th September.  Details will also be posted to local residents, with a response form to complete for those who do not want to do this on-line.

Birch woodland in autumn: Castlehill could look like this

We will provide updates on progress here.



The vast majority of funding for this project comes from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Significant additional funding has also come from:

  • Humber Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund Programme
  • Highways England’s Environmental Designated Fund
  • Hull City Council
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council
  • Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Erosion Committee


Give Us Your Views

We are seeking your views on the Castlehill Aquagreen proposals. The consultation runs from 24 August 2020 until 28 September 2020. Click on the link to access details of the proposals and to respond to the consultation on-line:


The survey will also be posted to local residents, with a response form to complete for those who do not want to do this on-line.

If you have not received a postal survey and would like one you can contact us on the email below to request one:



  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • NGOs
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils


  • Flood management