Council calls for action on floods

PUBLISHED: 10:33 28 December 2006 | UPDATED: 13:42 04 May 2010

OUTRAGED Welney councillors are demanding an urgent response to the periodic flooding which is isolating the village and destroying its businesses. For more than a month, the road through the village has been blocked, forcing motorists through the street

OUTRAGED Welney councillors are demanding an urgent response to the periodic flooding which is isolating the village and destroying its businesses.

For more than a month, the road through the village has been blocked, forcing motorists through the streets of Ely or Downham Market to get in and out.

Now Welney Parish Council has called for action from the Environment Agency to bring an end to the problem, which is caused by build-up of silt in the sluice at Welmore Lake.

The flooding has had disastrous effects for Welney businesses.

Dennis Birch is landlord of the Lamb and Flag pub, which has lost a third of its trade.

He said: "Generally we are very busy through the year but when the river floods people will not travel that extra to get here.

"People ring us from Littleport and Ely and ask if the road is flooded - and if it is they do not want to come to us."

Mr Birch believes the flooding is caused by poor management in de-silting the river, and by homes being built on flood plains.

Trade at the village post office is also down by as much as 30 per cent, but owner Peter Redman says it is also affecting people in Three Holes and Upwell.

"It affects our trade badly," he said.

"It costs an extra £20 a week in fuel if people work in places such as Mildenhall and Littleport, because of the extra mileage."

Residents are concerned about the detrimental effect the flooding is having on house prices in the village.

A spokesman from the agency refuted many of the residents' claims: "Welney Causeway is not flooded because Welmore Sluice is silted up or blocked, in fact it is currently fully operational and not clogged.

"We have recognised that siltation of the tidal river is a major issue for the general public and for ourselves and we have just commissioned consultants to undertake an all-encompassing strategic review of the tidal river, which will include a further assessment of the causes of the siltation and recommendations for controlling and managing it.

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