Drop in to brush up on Whittlesey Washes flood scheme

Environment Agency
Environment Agency
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The second phase of a £26-million scheme to strengthen the banks of the Whittlesey Washes is to start later this year and residents of Whittlesey and Stanground are invited to find out more.

The Environment Agency is inviting people who live close to the flood storage reservoir - also known as the Nene Washes - to one of two drop-in events. They will have the opportunity to see plans of the work and to speak to the project team about the scheme.

Whittlesey Washes is used to store flood water when high river levels cannot be released downstream because of high tides - when the river is ‘tide-locked’. As the tide recedes, water is released from the reservoir and back into the River Nene. The equivalent of 14,000 Olympic-sized pools of flood water can be temporarily stored on the Washes.

The Environment Agency-led scheme involves strengthening 16km of the South Barrier Bank. The scheme is taking place over three years, with the second phase, between Eldernell and Stanground, due to start this summer.

The first of the drop-in events will be held in Stanground on Wednesday 26 March at the Scout Hut off Wessex Close. The second is in Whittlesey on Wednesday 2 April at the Ivy Leaf Club on Gracious Street. Both drop-ins will be open between 11am and 7:30pm.

Guy Szomi, Environment Agency catchment engineer, said: “The Washes play an important part in reducing the risk of flooding to hundreds of properties, as well as roads, railways and more than 8,000 hectares of farmland, in the fenland area to the south east of Peterborough. Our work to strengthen the banks of the Washes will further reduce the risk to people and property.

“We would like to invite anyone who is interested in the scheme or has any concerns to one of our drop-in events so that they can find out more about the barrier bank improvements and speak to the project team.”

A section of the Green Wheel cycle route will be diverted during the works for public safety. Details of the diversion will be clearly displayed on notice-boards at each end of the working area.

The first phase of works – a 5km length of bank between Ring’s End at Guyhirn and Poplar House Farm – began in July 2013. This phase is due to be completed in autumn 2014.

As the washes are an internationally-important habitat, the majority of the work has to take place in the summer and early autumn to avoid disturbing breeding and over-wintering birds.

For more information on flood warnings and to find out how to reduce the impact of flooding on themselves, their families and properties, people should visit the Environment Agency website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or 0345 988 1188.