Rethink for flood protection schemes after changes to funding are made

PUBLISHED: 11:01 10 January 2018

FLOOD: Alconbury Weston ford pictured by Joe Ward

FLOOD: Alconbury Weston ford pictured by Joe Ward

The Environment Agency is looking into ways of reviving flood protection schemes for the Alconburys as a result of changes to the ways such projects are funded.

It is also installing CCTV cameras in Alconbury and Alconbury Weston so that residents can monitor conditions at the brook, a notorious flood point.

Joe Ward, who lives by the ford at Alconbury Weston, called for action after the brook burst its banks leaving a number of households in the village cut off.

Homes in the area flood regularly and Mr Ward said the cost of repairing the damage meant it must be worth boosting flood defences.

A £400,000 defence scheme was put in in 2011, but Mr Ward felt more needed to be done.

But a spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Up until 2007 we commissioned several feasibility studies to identify an engineering scheme which would help protect the villages but there was not a financially and technically feasible option at the time.

“The way projects are funded has changed since 2007 so we are currently reassessing the results of these studies to determine whether any of the engineering schemes could now be possible.”

The spokesman said: “The Environment Agency has successfully secured some funding which can be used for a natural flood management project in the Alconbury Brook catchment. This funding has come from a pot of £15 million announced by the Secretary of State for the Environment in 2016, to be used for natural flood management projects across the country.”

The spokesman said natural flood management used natural processes to reduce the risk of flooding.

The spokesman said: “After flooding in March 2016, the Environment Agency set up the Alconbury Brook Flood Management Partnership - a combination of professional partners and local communities which meets quarterly to progress the different elements of flood risk management on the Alconbury Brook.

“In the meantime, supported by the Environment Agency and Cambridgeshire County Council, Alconbury and Alconbury Weston Parish Councils have been working on community flood plans and recruiting volunteers. These plans set out the areas at risk, emergency evacuation procedures and actions to be undertaken in the event of flooding.

“CCTV cameras are going to be installed in both Alconbury and Alconbury Weston, focusing on the brook. This will allow local residents to safely monitor the condition of the brook during a flood event.”

‘The Alconbury Brook is included in our annual maintenance programme. Most recently on December 20 we undertook a channel side grass cut in both Alconbury and Alconbury Weston.”

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