BREAKING NEWS: Environment Agency announce £21million flood defence plans for Whittlesey Washes

PUBLISHED: 15:09 13 July 2012

Whittlesey Wash.

Whittlesey Wash.

Archant

OVER £21 million of government money is to be spent on improving flood defences at the Whittlesey Washes.

Steve Barclay says he “welcomes the U-turn by the Environment Agency” and says they have responded to pressure from him, the Middle Level Commission and the Whittlesey Internal Drainage Board.

Mr Barclay said the original £5million proposal from the Environment Agency to install a slipway at the South Barrier Bank east of Whittlesey would not have been sufficient.

“This would have weakened the barrier at a specific point, allowing for a controlled breach should extreme weather occur,” said the MP. “This would have reduced flood protection around Coates, Eastrea and Whittesey, but was seen as a cheaper option rather than repairing the bank to the original protection level along its full length.”

Now Environment Agency has now recommended a new scheme, he said, which will see the bank as a whole repaired “in line with the wishes of local campaigners.”

Mr Barclay said: “This means that there will be over £21million of investment to reinforce the whole length of the Whittlesey Washes bank, which will secure higher level flood defences for many years.

“The £21 million will also need to be topped up by local contributions of around £3 million from landowners, the local authority and IDBs to complete and maintain the project.

“However this split of costs between government and local contribution is far more successful than other schemes in the region, reflecting both the legal status of reservoirs and the effectiveness of the local campaign.”

Mr Barclay said the new plans “mark a significant shift by the Environment Agency.”

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