Open days let people learnt about the Whittlesey Washes scheme to prevent flooding

12:38 19 March 2014

Whittlesey Wash Flooded

Whittlesey Wash Flooded

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The second phase of a £26-million scheme to strengthen the banks of the Whittlesey Washes is to start later this year and residents are invited to find out more.

The Environment Agency is inviting people to one of two drop-in events to see plans of the work and speak to the project team about the scheme.

Whittlesey Washes is used to store flood water when high river levels cannot be released downstream because of high tides - when the river is ‘tide-locked’.

When the tide recedes, water is released from the reservoir and back into the River Nene. The equivalent of 14,000 Olympic-sized pools of flood water can be temporarily stored on the Washes.

The Environment Agency-led scheme involves strengthening 16km of the South Barrier Bank. It takes place over three years, with the second phase, between Eldernell and Stanground, starting this summer.

Guy Szomi, Environment Agency catchment engineer, said: “The Washes play an important part in reducing the risk of flooding to hundreds of properties, as well as roads, railways and more than 8,000 hectares of farmland.

“Our work to strengthen the banks of the Washes will further reduce the risk to people and property.”

A section of the Green Wheel cycle route will be diverted during the works for public safety. Details will be displayed on notice-boards at each end of the working area.

The first phase of works – a 5km length of bank between Ring’s End at Guyhirn and Poplar House Farm – began in July 2013. This phase is due to be completed in autumn 2014.

As the washes are an internationally-important habitat, the majority of the work has to take place in the summer and early autumn to avoid disturbing breeding and over-wintering birds.

The first of the drop-in event is in Stanground on Wednesday March 26 at the Scout Hut off Wessex Close. The second is in Whittlesey on Wednesday April 2 at the Ivy Leaf Club on Gracious Street. Both drop-ins are between 11am-7:30pm.

For more information visit the Environment Agency website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or 0345 988 1188.

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