Whittlesey Washes work complete a year before scheduled and nearly £10 million under budget
- Credit: Archant
Work to strengthen a 10-mile stretch of the South Bank of Whittlesey Washes has been completed one year sooner than planned and came in nearly £10 million under budget.
Work to strengthen a 10-mile stretch of the South Bank of Whittlesey Washes has been completed a year early and nearly £10 million under budget.
The project is going to help reduce the risk of flooding to more than 260 homes in the Fens.
Pete Riley, operations manager for the Environment Agency, told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: “It is a fantastic success story.
“Partnership is how we did it; lots of people were involved including the North Level Internal Drainage Board, Middle Level Commissioners, Cambridgeshire County Council and others.
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“Three or four years ago, a lot was done to work out what needed to be done at Whittlesey Washes - and we agreed the best way of doing it.
“A lot of hard work put in early on meant all the partners were lined up and pulling in the same direction.”
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Whittlesey Washes – also known as the Nene Washes – stores water from the River Nene when it is ‘tide-locked’, and the work to protect it began in 2013.
On an inspection carried out under the Reservoirs Act it was found to be at some risk of overtopping. Work was then put in to strengthen and raise the embankment over its 18 kilometers.
“It has been a huge scheme, and I’ve never known a project be so successful in my entire career.”
MP Steve Barclay also shared the good news on social media.
“Back in 2011 it was brought to my attention that the banks of Whittlesey Washes were in need of strengthening if they were to continue to prevent a flood,” he said.
“After a sustained campaign, both locally and in parliament holding meetings with ministers and senior Environment Agency officials, a solution was found that would ensure everyone is able to benefit from reduced flooding risk.
“Work began in 2013 and was expected to take four years to complete and cost £26.9 million.
“It is therefore fantastic to be able to celebrate on Friday, with the Environment Agency and other partners, that work has been completed one year sooner and nearly £10 million under budget.
“This is testament to what can be achieved when all organisations work together and securing the funding for these flood measures is something I am very proud of.”