Environment Agency Bows To Public Pressure And Agrees To Look Again At Flood Defences For East Cambs

PUBLISHED: 11:00 24 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 04 May 2010

flood defences

flood defences

THE Environment Agency (EA) has bowed to public pressure and agreed to extend its consultation on the future of the region s flood defences, it was announced last week. The news comes just a fortnight after the Ely Standard revealed that a recent EA draft

THE Environment Agency (EA) has bowed to public pressure and agreed to extend its consultation on the future of the region's flood defences, it was announced last week.

The news comes just a fortnight after the Ely Standard revealed that a recent EA draft report had recommended allowing the standard of the region's flood defences to drop significantly over the coming decades.

The recommendations, which would potentially leave 750 homes in the north-west of the district at risk of future flooding, caused widespread concern and forced the EA to rethink its plans.

Under the plans, the standard of protection offered by the South Level Barrier the region's foremost flood barrier, would be allowed to slip from 1 in120, meaning a serious flood has less than a one per cent chance of occurring annually, to as low as 1 in 20 by 2080.

East Cambridgeshire District Council was among the first to register its concern at the plans, highlighting the potential "disastrous social and economic consequences" for homes in the area.

Responding to the council's concerns, The EA subsequently agreed to extend its public consultation on the plans until December 7.

Sadia Moeed, project manager for the Great Ouse Tidal River Strategy said:

"Any potential drop in standards of protection are not predicted to begin happening until 30 to 50 years in the future.

"However, it would be irresponsible to not make people aware of the potential future challenges we face as a result of climate change and we want to encourage everyone involved to start planning for them."

"The Environment Agency is not making any decisions now that will prejudice our ability to provide higher standards of protection in the future."

Parish councillor for Little Downham, Kenneth Winters, welcomed the move: "The public need to be made aware of the risk that flooding poses in the Fens. It has been a long time since the last great floods when my grandfather went out harvesting in a boat and I think people have forgotten how quickly it can happen.

"The public need to get involved with the consultation and they need also to seek advice about what to do in a flood. They should know where their escape routes are and they should always have supplies of fresh water.

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