Increased danger

FURTHER to David Simmons s letter (January 17) and his concerns about the new green barrages across the entrance to the sluices at Godmanchester – not only are they a hideous blot on the landscape, they also represent what must be the most ill-conceived a

FURTHER to David Simmons's letter (January 17) and his concerns about the new green barrages across the entrance to the sluices at Godmanchester - not only are they a hideous blot on the landscape, they also represent what must be the most ill-conceived and dangerous schemes ever.

The risk of a fatality from falling into the water in the vicinity of the main sluice has now risen from very low to extremely high.

If I had fallen into the water prior to these barrages being installed and swept towards the sluice I would almost certainly have been caught on the chain that stretched across the sluice entrance. My progress towards the sluice would, therefore, have been halted, giving me the chance to pull myself to a safe area at either side where I could either haul myself out or receive assistance from rescuers.

If I fall in today, I have a 50-50 chance of being swept against either one of the barrages, which are too big to hold on to, so I would almost certainly be swept underneath and through the sluice and possibly drowned or, if I went between the barrages and caught hold of one of the metal joining arms between them, I would have temporary safety.


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However, because the barrages are so large, I would not be able to move along and past them to safety and would thus be trapped. For the same reason, rescuers could not reach me.

Through the rapid onset of hypothermia I would soon lose my grip and be swept through the sluice, possibly to my death.

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If the Environment Agency really does believe that this installation represents an increase in safety, then it clearly needs to re-visit its risk assessments.

ALAN GOFF, Sweetings Road, Godmanchester

* I AM told that, years ago, the river between Huntingdon, St Ives and Earith was regularly dredged, helping to deepen the river, and the spoil used for raising the banks.

With the heavy rain and flooding we get nowadays, dredging seems sensible. Is it done regularly now, and by whom? If not, why not?

J SCRIMSHAW, Feoffees Road, Somersham

* I READ with interest (January 24) that the new flood prevention measures had passed their first test during the recent flooding on the Hemingford meadow.

Having passed over the river thousands of times, the amount of flooding on the meadows was quite normal after heavy rain and happens most years. Only after a prolonged period of rain will it be proven whether or not the flood prevention measures work. I hope they do, but I have my doubts.

L KING, The Green, Hilton

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