Environment Agency looking into repairs needed for Bourne Eau and River Welland between Cowbit and Crowland
Plans are being formed to repair the river banks which burst more than two weeks ago due to the deluge of rain brought by Storm Henk.
Officials from the Environment Agency (EA) say they are looking at options to repair the banks of the River Welland and Bourne Eau which collapsed and flooded nearby farmland at Tongue End and Crowland and Cowbit Washes.
The EA has come under fire in recent weeks by local landowners along with the chief executive of the Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board, Karen Daft, but MPs have also criticised the authority for not preserving the country’s flood defences.
The Public Accounts Committee has warned that an additional 203,000 homes nationally will be at risk of flooding due to the lack of maintenance of these vital defences.
A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said: "Our contractors have visited the site and are shortly beginning operations to undertake a temporary solution for the breach, ensuring the Bourne Eau flows on its normal course."
"We are dispatching contractors to explore repair options for the bank at the Crowland and Cowbit Washes, as well as collaborating with the national pump team to coordinate the removal of the floodwater from the washes."
"During this time, we urge residents and members of the public to avoid the breach sites due to unstable ground conditions."
Cowbit farmer William Tyrrell has welcomed news that the EA is looking at repairing the bank of the River Welland at Cowbit and Crowland Washes – but is disappointed that they have not communicated directly with affected landowners.
Up to 50% of the land farmed by Mr Tyrrell and his father Trevor, has been impacted by the breach of the bank on the outskirts of Crowland – which could affect their ability to produce crops for next year.
Mr Tyrrell – who had previously branded the EA as ‘incompetent’ – said: “If they are exploring options for repair that is positive but I can’t comment until we know what those are.
“I am disappointed that they have not communicated directly with the affected landowners directly. It is publicly available information.”
The EA had previously told this paper that it is investigating the causes of the breach in Crowland after concerns were raised by locals about a vermin hole which had been reported but not repaired.
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The agency has previously reported that the washes – which were constructed in the 17th century – are coming to the ‘end of their design life’ with seepage being reported on the banks.
Last year the agency secured £2.8million from the Government to investigate the ‘best use’ of washes along with understanding the flood risk through ‘mapping and modelling’ – and says it is a ‘process of determining the direction of the project’.
The Bourne Eau is another system managed by the EA which breached its banks on January 3 and sent flood water over agricultural land on the South Fen Road, near Tongue End.
At the time Chief Executive Karen Daft has called on those in charge of the Environment Agency to have a closer look at its management programme.
She said: “I think those higher up at the Environment Agency have to take a serious look at how they are managing their assets as what is going on is really not acceptable.”
What do you think? Are the EA managing our rivers well? Post a comment below.