Motorists cock a snook at closure signs -but Lamb and Flag trade hit as Welney Wash floods

MOTORISTS cocked a snook at Environment Agency closure signs and headed through the Welney Wash on the A1101 today despite the first flooding of the year.

The A1101 Wash Road was closed in both directions between the Cock Fen Road junction and the B1411 junction because of flooding.

The closure was sudden and only in the previous 24 hours had the surrounding wetlands begun to flood. Welney is home to the UK’s largest floodwater storage area and traditionally floods each year but until recent heavy rains had looked to have avoided closure for the first time in years.

Forecasters have warned further heavy showers expected tomorrow night could increase the risk of localised flooding.

The Environment Agency had issued a flood alert for the Hundred Foot Washes, also known as the Ouse Washes, including the causeways at Earith, Sutton Gault, both Cambridgeshire, and Welney, Norfolk, earlier this week.


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The East of England Ambulance Service is asking people to take care on the roads and when entering or approaching flooded fords.

Gary Sanderson, ambulance service spokesman, said: “I must stress the importance of taking care when approaching or entering a flooded road or ford.

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“Last weekend in Hertfordshire, a family of four were lucky to escape unharmed when their car became stuck in a ford with the water rising into it.”

People are asked to contact Floodline on 0845 988 1188 if they need further information on the flood alert.

THE road across Welney Washes has been closed because of flooding - for the first time in two years.

The stretch of road between Welney and Littleport usually closes during the winter months when the flood plain spills over. But the last two dry winters have seen it remain open throughout.

Now the wettest April on record has seen unusually high water levels for the time of year come across the road, known as the Causeway, and the Environment Agency has shut it.

Village pub landlord Dennis Birch said he had already received cancellations from customers because of the 40-mile detour.

“We have had a couple of people call already to say they won’t be coming in for Sunday lunch. It is late for the road to close, but it has been later than this before,” he said.

The Lamb and Flag is the only pub in the village and relies heavily on passing trade.

“We are now cut-off from two of the biggest tourist attractions in the eastern region - the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve at Welney and Ely Cathedral. We get a lot of trade and could do without this,” added Mr Birch.

The barriers are down on the road but some traffic has been ignoring them and going through. The water was reported to be no more than six inches deep at one point.

Mr Birch said at its worst, the Washes were closed from October 2006 to March 2007 - a spell which saw his business turnover fall by �100,000.

“We tried to claim on our insurance for a business interruption and asked West Norfolk Council for a rate rebate because we couldn’t trade.

“We had a letter from each of them arrive on the same day - one saying the incidents were too irregular to claim, and the other saying the flooding was not often enough to warrant financial help. What can you do? Hopefully it won’t last long,” he said.

The Environment Agency confirmed it had closed the road because of the amount of rainfall in recent weeks. A spokesman said it was not clear how long the road would remain shut for.

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