Work to continue on £27million upgrade to key flood bank

Work taking place on the flood bank at the Ouse Washes

Work taking place on the flood bank at the Ouse Washes - Credit: Archant

Work is set to start on the second stage of a £27m upgrade of the banks of a giant floodwater storage area near Earith.

A drop-in session is being held by the Environment Agency at Earith parish hall from 4pm-8pm on May 23 so people living in the area can learn more about the project.

The Ouse Washes scheme, on the River Great Ouse north east of Huntingdon, will raise the Middle Level barrier bank and part of the South Level barrier bank and is expected to take a total of four years to complete.

Work will take place in the summer and early autumn to protect breeding and over-wintering birds on the land, an internationally-important habitat.

The Ouse Washes act as a flood storage reservoir around 18 miles long and covering nearly 4,700 acres. It can hold 90,000,000 cubic metres of water, enough to fill Wembley Stadium 22 times.

The reservoir protects thousands of properties, roads, railways and more than 165,000 acres of farmland from winter flooding when rising water is stored there.

Nicola Oldfield, Environment Agency project manager, said: “This summer we will be working closer to local community hubs, particularly at Earith and Welney. The project team is ensuring that we have as little impact as possible on local residents and would be pleased to answer any questions they have at an upcoming drop-in event on 23 May in Earith.”

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The Environment Agency has invited people who live close to the Ouse Washes to the drop in event where they will have the opportunity to see the final design of bank works and to speak to the project team about the work.

Work this summer will be between Earith and Mepal and at Welney on the Middle Level and between Sutton Gault and Chain Corner on the South Level.

Public footpaths along the crest of the Middle level bank will be diverted to keep walkers and construction staff safe and diversions will be posted.

Construction started last year and the scheme is being carried out by the Environment Agency in partnership with drainage organisations, councils and environmental groups.