Environment Agency denies MP’s claim that increased dredging would lessen impact of Welney flooding

16:23 03 February 2014

Flooded Welney Wash Rd. Picture: Steve Williams.

Flooded Welney Wash Rd. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

The Environment Agency has denied claims by MP Steve Barclay that more dredging of the Old Bedford River would lessen the impact of flooding at Welney.

Mr Barclay, the MP for NE Cambs, called for increased dredging “which will reduce pressure on the Ouse Washes and in turn the number of days the A1101 through Welney is closed”.

But a spokesman for the agency says dredging would be “very expensive, both financially and environmentally” and would not prevent flooding of the A1101.

The spokesman said: “The A1101 Welney Causeway crosses the Ouse Washes which is a flood storage reservoir designed to store enormous amounts of water - 90,000,000m3 - the equivalent to 36,000 Olympic size swimming pools.

“The reservoir stores water that has come down from the upper reaches of the River Great Ouse and is designed to ‘hold’ the flood water behind raised embankments and thus prevent thousands of hectares of prime agricultural land in the Fens from being flooded.”

The spokesman said: “The Old Bedford River flows through and is part of the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir. It is an artificial river contained by raised embankments.

“Dredging it would provide some benefit to land drainage in the Fens but it would be very expensive, both financially and environmentally and it would not prevent the flooding we’ve seen in recent weeks which has cut off the A1101”.

Mr Barclay said: “Whilst the Environment Agency has disputed the extent to which more extensive dredging could have avoided the widespread flooding in the West Country it is clear from the intervention of the Prime Minister yesterday that dredging was a factor and this is reflected in the future work programme of the Environment Agency in that area.

“The Environment Agency has said that in Somerset they are increasing their dredging activity once water levels have receded and we should not wait for flooding before changing our own programme locally.

“In the Fens we are lucky to have genuine experts in our Internal Drainage Boards and I am keen to ensure their voice is heard and where they have identified a need for dredging the authorities act on it”.

0 comments

More news stories

Yesterday, 10:59
A second skimming device has been found on the Santander ATM in Market Place, Wisbech

A second skimming device has been recovered from the Santander ATM in Market Place, Wisbech within less than a week.

Yesterday, 16:02
£40 per year bin collection charge will ‘hit poorest the hardest’ says Chatteris Town Crier

The town crier of Chatteris has started a petition opposing planned charges for the collection of brown bins as he believes it will “hit the poorest the hardest”.

Yesterday, 10:02
Participants at the human trafficking round-table meeting in Peterborough.

The wide extent of human slavery in parts of East Anglia was revealed at a meeting between representatives of the catholic church, local police forces and the office of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner last week.

Yesterday, 06:33
Fenland Enterprise Business Awards 2015

Calling all Fenland businesses this is your last chance to enter the area’s premier awards that recognise our entrepreneurs, the firms and the people that make them great.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wisbech Standard e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up