MEP calls for increased dredging of rivers around the Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire

09:27 13 February 2014

Vicky Ford MEP for the East of England.

Vicky Ford MEP for the East of England.

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East Anglia MEP Vicky Ford has added her voice to that of local MPs campaigning for increased dredging of rivers around the Ouse Washes.

Norfolk MP and and Eastern region MEP in joint talks to try and resolve flooding delays through Welney. Left: Cllr David Pope, Cllr Fred Yeulett. MP Elizabeth Truss.
Cllr Vivienne Spikings. Cllr Will Sutton and Vicky Ford MEP for East of England.Norfolk MP and and Eastern region MEP in joint talks to try and resolve flooding delays through Welney. Left: Cllr David Pope, Cllr Fred Yeulett. MP Elizabeth Truss. Cllr Vivienne Spikings. Cllr Will Sutton and Vicky Ford MEP for East of England.

She has written to the Environment Secretary Rt Hon. Owen Paterson MP asking for the East of England rivers to be considered in any Environment Agency review of dredging policy. This follows the recent announcements of a review on the use of dredging on the flooded Somerset levels.

“Last year I Ford met with local residents in Welney where the A1101 is regularly closed due to flooding,” she said.

“There were growing concerns about the length of closures and locals pointed to the lack of dredging in recent years.”

Norfolk and Cambridgeshire MPs Elizabeth Truss and Steve Barclay have also called for dredging to resume and for local measures to improve access including electronic warning signs.

Mrs Ford said she met Cambridgeshire County Council leader Martin Curtis last month and urged him to get the signs connected as soon as the weather conditions allow. She intends to visit Welney again on March 20.

She said “We have great sympathy for all those in the West Country who are suffering so much at the moment, but we must not allow the authorities to take their eye off the ball here in the East.

“Local people have been concerned about lack of dredging for the past few years. They were told that it is not an issue, but lessons from Somerset suggest otherwise. A rethink of dredging policy needs to encompass the East as well as the West.”

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