Council support for drainage campaign

PUBLISHED: 12:06 26 July 2007 | UPDATED: 12:39 04 May 2010

A CAMPAIGN to save East Cambridgeshire s ancient Roman drainage channels has won the support of the district council. Councillors gave their backing to the Don t Ditch Our Lodes campaign during their meeting last Tuesday. They agreed that the lodes were

A CAMPAIGN to save East Cambridgeshire's ancient Roman drainage channels has won the support of the district council.

Councillors gave their backing to the Don't Ditch Our Lodes campaign during their meeting last Tuesday.

They agreed that the lodes were "an important historical and recreation feature" and deplored "any move that might lead to the Environment Agency lowering or ditching any of the lodes".

They also urged the agency to continue maintaining the lodes in their present form.

The Environment Agency has commissioned a report to look at the future of the Lodes and may decide to convert all or some of them into ditches.

Campaigners have launched a petition to save them which has been signed by key figures in the community.

Former county and district councillor Geoffrey Woollard, who has lead the campaign, said: "This was a marvellous result for a momentous motion. We already have the support of MP for South East Cambridgeshire, James Paice, and I hope the county councillors can get cracking and give their support to keeping the Cambridgeshire Lodes."

He added: "If it had not been for the National Trust's plans to buy up and partially flood some 10,000 acres of rich fen land in the Swaffham Internal Drainage Board's area, this issue would not be causing so much concern to so many people. The National Trust says that lowering some of the lodes would be acceptable. Lowering is much the same as ditching. Ditching the lodes is what we are against."

A similar campaign to protect them in their present form was successful 30 years ago.

Geoffrey Woollard has set up an E-petition which on Wednesday had reached 300 signatories. Mr Woollard said: "This is an amazing and spectacular expression of concern for the continued maintenance of the Cambridgeshire lodes."

The E-petition can be found at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/ourLodes

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