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Environment Agency seeking options to reduce flood risk in Horncastle following community concerns after Storm Babet.

The Environment Agency is seeking more options to reduce future flood risk in Horncastle, prompted by community concerns raised in response to its report on the flooding aftermath of Storm Babet.

After the county endured two months’ worth of rainfall within 24 hours last October, 197 properties in Horncastle and 31 homes in Kirkby on Bain were flooded, despite an £8.1 million Flood Alleviation Scheme implemented in 2017.

The agency released a report investigating the causes behind the flooding, revealing a significant two-and-a-half-hour delay in closing a malfunctioning sluice gate.

An aerial view of the flooding around Horncastle. Photo: TheDroneMan.net
An aerial view of the flooding around Horncastle. Photo: TheDroneMan.net

Despite this, they said that even if the gate had been closed promptly, the peak of the river’s rise would have been delayed by only about an hour.

Following community backlash alleging that the Environment Agency had “marked its own homework,” Lincolnshire County Council, the county’s lead flood authority, has vowed to validate the report’s findings independently as an external third party.

However, the agency has also now pledged to explore future measures to further mitigate the risk of flooding in Horncastle.

Flooding in Horncastle after Storm Babet
Flooding in Horncastle after Storm Babet

This includes revisiting previous proposals such as constructing a reservoir on the River Waring and minor bank reinforcements.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “In February 2024, the Environment Agency published a report into the 2023 flooding of Horncastle following Storm Babet, which was produced by an independent consultant.

“As previously planned, Lincolnshire County Council will now conduct a peer review of our report.

“We are also looking into possible options to reduce flood risk to Horncastle in the future.

“Over the coming months we will be revisiting and reassessing the viability of previous plans to create a reservoir on the River Waring.

“We are also exploring whether minor bank works might be needed in the town to fill in localised low spots.

“We will work with Horncastle Town Council and landowners as we explore options to reduce the risk of flooding, though it is important to note the risk can never be eliminated entirely.”

The agency also notes that for any future projects to proceed, significant funding contributions would likely be required, similar to the funding needed for the River Bain reservoir.

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