FENLAND ROAD SAFETY CAMPAIGN: We won't accept that nothing will change

PUBLISHED: 14:08 23 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:10 02 June 2010

IN a recent edition of the Cambs Times Mr P English, apparently a retired chartered civil engineer, said installing safety barriers along the Fen drain roads could jeopardise flood protection. He was concerned that the drain banks were constructed 350 yea

IN a recent edition of the Cambs Times Mr P English, apparently a retired chartered civil engineer, said installing safety barriers along the Fen drain roads could jeopardise flood protection.

He was concerned that the drain banks were constructed 350 years ago to uncertain standards and that digging a 'trench' and placing a 'large weight' at the top of such banks would increase the risk of slippage.

Mr English has overlooked a number of important points.

Firstly, in many locations, where the roads have been introduced, the banks have been widened to accommodate the roads and therefore represent an increased obstacle to any possible breach of the whole structure.

Secondly, where any slippage has occurred, there was no indication of any threat of flooding to the region and the site was strengthened without fuss.

Thirdly, there has been no indication that any slippage has been caused by any of the existing barrier installations and fourthly, wherever possible, the preferred means of installing barriers would be to attach them to posts, 'pushed' or 'screwed' into the ground to a sufficient depth not only to secure the barriers, but also, potentially helping stabilise the upper soil layer.

The presence of barriers would then prevent incursion onto the previously vulnerable verge by heavy and wide load vehicles. Compared to HGVs and heavy farm vehicles, the stress caused to the verge by the weight of steel barriers would be minor.

Where the verge is not substantial or strong enough, bank strengthening work can and should be undertaken.

The additional funding required is a key reason for seeking Government help, hence the petition to the Prime Minister, and the Parliamentary visit I made last October with MP Malcolm Moss, to deliver letters to Gordon Brown, David Cameron and other senior politicians.

With the risk of further deaths from cars entering the drains being ever present, supporters of the Fenland Road Safety Campaign have decided not to just shrug our shoulders and accept that nothing will ever change.

GRAHAM CHAPPELL

Campaign Organiser

Fenland Road Safety Campaign (Charlotte's Way)


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