Letter: Council leader 'takes its watercourse maintenance responsibilities very seriously'

Jason Cox captured drone footage of flooded fields at Sutton Gault just before sunset following recent flooding.

Jason Cox captured drone footage of flooded fields at Sutton Gault just before sunset following recent flooding. - Credit: JASON COX

Watercourse maintenance

There is a lot of understandable concern about flooding issues in Cambridgeshire at the moment and much work is going on by a number of different agencies, led by Cambridgeshire County Council which is the Lead Local Flood Authority.  

As leader of East Cambs District Council,  I wanted to make sure that the district council was running a well-managed programme of maintenance of the small number of watercourses that it is responsible for and I asked officers to provide me with a report.  

I am pleased to say, as I believed was the case, that East Cambs District Council takes its watercourse maintenance responsibilities very seriously.

And, although it is not straight forward, is running an excellent programme of maintenance.  

The council is responsible for watercourses in Stretham, Fordham, Soham, Witcham, Wilburton, Haddenham, Witchford and Dullingham.

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There are approximately 27 miles of award ditches in total that the council is responsible for.

The council aims to de-silt the ditches and flail the bank sides every four years if needed.  

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The ditches provide excellent habitat for a variety of wildlife and we ensure that all maintenance work is carried out after September to avoid harming any breeding birds and invertebrates.

At least one inspection of every ditch is carried out annually, usually at harvest time when access is easier.  

In wet winters or when there is a risk of summer extreme downpours additional inspections are carried out, particularly at known hot spots where internal flooding could possibly happen.

Riparian ditches are dealt with in the same way as award ditches; however as these are adjoined to the district council's own open spaces, access is more straight forward and inspections are therefore undertaken as part of our normal grass cutting programmes.

I wanted to let people know that I am confident that East Cambs District Council is doing a very good job at maintaining all the watercourses it is responsible for, helping to minimise flooding issues.

ANNA BAILEY, East Cambs District Councillor - Downham Villages, Leader of the Council, Cambridgeshire County Councillor - Ely South, Chairman of the Adults Committee

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