Serious Risk Of Flooding For East Cambs If No Action Is Taken To Improve Defences
PUBLISHED: 09:51 12 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:08 04 May 2010
PARTS of East Cambridgeshire could be left at serious risk of flooding if no action is taken to improve the region s flood defences, East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) has warned. More than 750 homes in the district could face disastrous social
PARTS of East Cambridgeshire could be left at serious risk of flooding if no action is taken to improve the region's flood defences, East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) has warned.
More than 750 homes in the district could face 'disastrous social and economic consequences' if substantial investment is not made in the South Level Barrier Bank, a man-made flood defence which runs for around 30 kilometres to the north-west of Ely.
Today, the risk of flooding in East Cambridgeshire is rated by the Environment Agency (EA) as 1 in 120, meaning that with the level of protection provided by the South Level Bank, a serious flood has less than one per cent chance of happening annually.
With the increasing threat of global warming and unpredictable weather patterns factored in however, the EA predicts that by 2080 the standard of protection of the barrier would fall to as low as one in 20, a level that has caused concern among council officers.
In response to the Environment Agency's findings, ECDC has urged the national body to invest in reinforcing the bank to raise the figure to at least one in 50.
In their report on the future flood risk in the Great Ouse catchment area however, the EA has only proposing to do enough work to keep the flood level from falling below one in 20, something that has worried district councillor Ian Allen,
"The Environment Agency has either got to invest large amounts of money to improve the flood defences or they have to accept that large amounts of houses could be affected, he said.
"With the weather becoming more unpredictable in the coming years due to global warming, the Environment Agency will have lots of issues of flooding to deal with around the UK, so I wonder whether 750 houses in East Cambridgeshire will be at the top of their priorities."
A spokesman for the Environment Agency told the Ely Standard that the concerns raised by ECDC would be taken into account but insisted that the EA was happy to allow the risk level to reach one in 20.
The spokesman said that the target date was some way off and the effects of global warming would be monitored in the interim.
The spokesman also confirmed that large investment would be needed to make significant improvements to the food defences and that would only happen with financial input from the council.