Flooded road summit call comes on the day Welney Washes is opened

Welney wash rd open. Dennis and Gina Birch from the Lamb and Flag. Picture: Steve Williams. Welney wash rd open. Dennis and Gina Birch from the Lamb and Flag. Picture: Steve Williams.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014
9:41 AM

On the day a water logged road was re-opened after 59 days Steve Barclay MP announced plans for a multi agency summit to review flood planning in the Fens.

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Landlords of the Lamb and Flag pub, whose trade has been massively hit by the closed road on the A1101 at Welney Washes, were relieved to get back to business as normal after almost two months watching their trade slump forcing them to cut back their six staff to skeleton hours.

The road was re opened at lunchtime on Monday (24) on the same day that Mr Barclay called for a meeting to bring together water management agencies.

The meeting comes as Norfolk County Council and Cambridgeshire County Council plan to put up new digitalised road signs warning motorists in advance if the washes road is shut. The signs were due to be installed last month but the plan could not go ahead because the road was flooded.

Georgina Webb, landlady of the Lamb and Flag, said: “Thank God it’s open - sixty per cent of our trade has dropped so it has come in the nick of time.”

The road has been shut since December 27 and the knock on has become a way of life, she said.

“It used to happen now and then but the flooded road has become a part of life. As a business we can’t keep taking the brunt like that,” she said.

Mr Barclay has called for a meeting to bring together the Middle Level Commission, the Environment Agency and the NFU with local authorities and internal drainage board officials.

The meeting, on March 21 in the South Fens Business Park, Chatteris, will review the current water management programme, budgets, and any areas of concern, to identify where the lessons of recent events can be applied.

Mr Barclay said: “Despite the devastating scenes in the Somerset Levels and elsewhere, the Fens have coped well in recent months with the high levels of rain. Thanks go to those working locally for internal drainage boards, the middle level commission staff and the local Environment Agency workers who manage the risk of flooding in our area.

“It is important we learn the lessons for our area from what has happened in areas where flooding has occurred. This is not as simplistic as just suggesting more dredging although it is likely that we need to look more closely at the dredging operations across Fenland waterways. We need also to be mindful of wider river management and of damage to banks caused by badgers and rabbits.

“The agenda will look at the Ouse Washes, where the A1101 road closure at Welney continues to cause disruption, as well as discussing the ongoing work on the Whittlesey Washes.

“The summit is not just about the problems we have seen in recent weeks but also involves looking at future potential issues. For example drought conditions may not seem an issue today, but it is a real risk in the future and I want to ensure we avoid damage to crops and higher food prices should prolonged drought conditions occur in the years ahead.”

3 comments

  • Well Said Mike. Tired of the complaints every year regards the flooding of Welney. Its been flooded for centuries, Dennis and Gina know this, yet every year we get these articles in the paper. 'Regular' patrons east side of the welney know the score. I know that each year if i need to access Ely during DecJanFeb there is a good chance i will be going VIA the A142 a road big enough to handle the heavy haulage traffic, unlike the surrounding village roads leading to Welney. It's a shame I do not see the same commitment regards the costs of constantly having to repair the local village roads destroyed by veichles they were never intended to carry and the damage to the surrounding villages homes caused by the vibrations as they pass. Time for a 7.5 ton limit on the B1100... if Welney (Norfollk council) want the traffic why should Christchurch and Tipps end (Cambridge Council) foot the bill !

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    Paul_W

    Friday, February 28, 2014

  • I have lived in the area most of my life - I was born here in the early 50s and apart from periods working overseas have always been in the area. Welney has ALWAYS flooded BY DESIGN - please check the facts.......

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    Mike Brogan

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

  • Yes the washes are designed to flood but the point people keep missing is that the floodwater is taking twice as long as it used to to go down because the Hundred Foot river bed is silted up due to the silt being brought in on an incoming tide from the Wash. This has always happened but in the past was managed by dredging until 20 years ago. See also Somerset Levels!!

    Report this comment

    James Anderson

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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