A FLOOD action group has slammed United Utilities for not doing enough to prevent Keswick flooding.

With fears rising as the flood season looms, Keswick Flood Action Group believes the water company should lower water levels in Thirlmere reservoir to be in a better position to protect the town.

However the water company has hit back, saying it has a duty to make sure that deliberate releases from the reservoir don’t cause flooding to properties.

The group feel more needs to be done. Chair Lynne Jones said: “ At this time of year in 2015, there was about 1.7m of space, which all disappeared by November 30 2015. On Monday, we had 24 cms of space left.

"United Utilities are supposed to be trying to give us three metres of storm space.

“I think we can safely say that they clearly are failing – as are all those whom we have looked to over the last 15 years to support the community and get a realistic management regime at the reservoir.

“If we flood again this winter I will be asking for a public inquiry into why the evidence we have supplied has been largely ignored and how it has taken a full 10 years from United Utilities attempts to make even the 700 ml/d releases."

A United Utilities spokesman said: “We have a legal duty to manage the reservoir to ensure availability of the public water supply and also to make sure that we do not cause harm to St John's Beck, which is part of the River Derwent Special Area of Conservation.

“We also have a duty to make sure that deliberate releases from the reservoir don’t cause flooding to properties in the area close to the dam.

“We have a long-standing voluntary agreement with Keswick Flood Action Group to release water from Thirlmere. At this time of year we release water when the reservoir is 3m below full, however we have never committed to maintaining that level. If the inflows are greater than what we can release, the reservoir will eventually fill then spill naturally, as it is designed to do.

“Changing the management plan at Thirlmere is not something United Utilities can decide to do alone. It is a complex issue which has an impact on water supplies and on the ecology and flood risk of the river downstream. We continue to work with regulators on the long-term plans.”