Work on flood barrier delayed by wet weather

An artists impression of what the barrier will look like. Picture: Environment Agency

An artists impression of what the barrier will look like. Picture: Environment Agency - Credit: Archant

Work to install new barriers at a flooding hotspot has been delayed until 2022 as a result of wet weather.

The Environment Agency said work to put in place a demountable flood barrier at Welney, where the Wash Road meets the middle barrier bank, has been rescheduled until next year due to delays in bank raising work caused by wet weather.

The project to improve the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir aims to maintain the standard of flood protection to more than 2,000 properties and 67,000 hectares of agricultural land.

In an updated report, the EA said: "The weather last year had not been kind to the project as we lost several weeks due to wet weather conditions.

Works to raise the banks of the Ouse Washes

Works to raise the banks of the Ouse Washes. - Credit: Environment Agency

"This is due to the nature of the material. Once it rains, we must stop work as the clay becomes very slippery and dangerous for machinery and staff to work with.

"The rain had saturated and flooded the haul roads making it difficult to work on the dry days. We used pumps to try and remove some of the water from the haul roads."

It added that work was also postponed because the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir started to fill "earlier than usual" causing the water level against the bank to become "too high to continue working safely".

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It said it would need to return this year to complete the bank works between Welney and the railway bridge before it can start the barrier foundation work.

The EA said in order to complete the flood barrier construction it will need to close the A1101 road for six to eight weeks.

A public consultation with residents last year indicated that their preferred time for the road to be closed for these works to be carried out is during the school summer holidays.

As a result, the EA said it has to delay the work until next summer. But officials say the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir project remains on track to be completed by the end of 2022.

Project manager Nicola Oldfield said: "The work, when finished, will help to ensure that people, land and buildings are protected from floodwater escaping from the reservoir for years to come."

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