WELNEY: Wash road flooding could be reduced by improvements to Denver Sluice

IMPROVEMENTS at Denver Sluice on the River Ouse could help reduce flooding which closes off Welney for parts of the winter and forces long detours. Environment Agency engineers have installed a new jetting system on the Little Eyes – the great wooden door

IMPROVEMENTS at Denver Sluice on the River Ouse could help reduce flooding which closes off Welney for parts of the winter and forces long detours.

Environment Agency engineers have installed a new jetting system on the Little Eyes - the great wooden doors which discharge water from the Ely Ouse into the tidal Ouse, and prevent the sea from flooding inland at high tide.

They hope the jets will help keep the doors free of silt, which reduces their effectiveness by making it harder for the doors to open to discharge water.

Engineers hope this in turn will boost flows in the tidal river, helping to reduce siltation. That means sluices elsewhere on the river, such as those at Welmore, which allow water to drain from Welney Washes via The Delph will also work more effectively.


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Tim Melville, the EA's asset system management officer, said: "Protecting people, property and land in the Fens is our priority so keeping the silt away from the sluices means we can operate them more effectively. This improved discharge will help in clearing silt from the tidal river and means that we can discharge floodwater from the Ouse Washes more effectively.

"This will assist in reducing the frequency and duration of flooding of the causeway roads at Welney, Earith and Sutton Gault."

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Villagers at Welney have found themselves increasingly cut off in recent winters, as flood waters on the washes - which were designed as short-term flood reservoirs by Dutch drainer Cornelius Vermuyden almost 300 years ago - have remained for months at a time.

Wash Road has been impassable, leaving some families facing detours of 20 miles or more to take their children to school.

Flooding has also caused thousands of wading birds to lose their eggs for the last two breeding seasons.

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