Fens are for food, not flooding

PUBLISHED: 13:38 20 September 2007 | UPDATED: 12:52 04 May 2010

THE National Trust s soothing words have not lessened the threat to The Cambridgeshire Lodes and don t tally with the same organisation saying earlier that lowering of Burwell and Reach Lodes would be acceptable . Lowering is much the same as ditching -

THE National Trust's soothing words have not lessened the threat to The Cambridgeshire Lodes and don't tally with the same organisation saying earlier that "lowering of Burwell and Reach Lodes would be acceptable".

Lowering is much the same as ditching - and ditching The Lodes is what I and my friends and supporters are opposed to.

It is also evident to me that those who produced the National Trust's so-called Wicken Vision scheme were living in La-La-Land, as it seems that they didn't understand the full implications or the likely consequences of it. I now feel sorry for those trying to implement it for they have an impossible task.

The Wicken Vision scheme is foolish, wasteful and counter-conservationist.

Foolish because it won't work, but will probably cost close to £100 million. Is this to be taxpayers' or lottery players' cash yet again?

Wasteful because of the loss of some 10,000 acres of the finest food growing land in the country. World wheat prices have more than doubled. Land prices are on the up and up. We need the Fens for food, not flooding.

Counter-conservationist because of the threat to The Cambridgeshire Lodes - from their outsides, caused by the scheme's planned 're-wetting' or flooding of the surrounding Fens.

The National Trust officers claim that continuing agricultural operations are the main factor behind The Environment Agency's current study of The Cambridgeshire Lodes. I believe that it is their plans for the Wicken Vision that are motivating The Environment Agency.

My belief, shared by many others, is that the Wicken Vision and the threat to The Cambridgeshire Lodes are issues that are inextricably intertwined.

If The National Trust succeeds with its plans to buy and partially flood some 10,000 acres of the Fens, the Lode banks will be undermined.

The Environment Agency has rightly recognised the problem and their commissioned report includes the following:

"The Lodes themselves are major infrastructure features, and it should be noted that stability of the Lodes may become an increasing problem as the ground water levels rise under the Wicken Vision.

"This is a particular concern in relation to Reach Lode which is the highest of all of the Lodes and is situated in the area of lowest ground.

"The stability of the Lodes is a function of their height and the material used in their construction, and the rising ground water will reduce the strength of the underlying soils and make the Lodes less stable."

Readers who care for our Fens and Lodes heritage should sign the 'Don't Ditch Our Lodes!' online e-petition at petitions.pm.gov.uk/OurLODES/

GEOFFREY WOOLLARD

River Bank

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