The line of defence

A MULTI-MILLION pound flood defence gate to protect homeowners in St Ives and the Hemingfords was in operation for the first time on Friday. It opened just days before other parts of the county were engulfed by floods. The £8.8million scheme covers 2.9 mi

A MULTI-MILLION pound flood defence gate to protect homeowners in St Ives and the Hemingfords was in operation for the first time on Friday.

It opened just days before other parts of the county were engulfed by floods.

The £8.8million scheme covers 2.9 miles of the Great Ouse in the St Ives area. The work involved building new embankments in Wilhorn and Hemingford.

The work, which will reduce the risk of flooding for 1,600 properties in the area, involved raising flood walls and building a new pumping station at Hemingford Grey.


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The worst recorded flooding in the area took place in 1947, and properties have been badly affected in both 1998 and 2003.

The defences will work in tandem with the natural floodplain of the Great Ouse, which will still be allowed to flood as necessary.

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Paul Woodcock, Environment Agency regional manager, said: "I am pleased to see this project completed within its timescale and on budget.

"We have already seen parts of these defences working well earlier in the year and providing the increased level of protection we planned."

MP for Huntingdon Jonathan Djanogly was among those attending the closing of the gate, which is part of a nationwide drive by the Environment Agency to protect homes from flooding.

Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: "More and more people and property are now protected from flooding.

"Since 2003, an extra 325,000 people have been able to sleep better at night, knowing they are protected by flood defences."

INFORMATION: For more on flood defences, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk

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