Environment Agency completes third phase of vital Ouse Washes work

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The Environment Agency project to raise the Middle Level Barrier Bank (MLBB) and part of the South Level Barrier Bank (SLBB) will maintain the level of protection provided to more than 2,000 properties and 67,000ha of agricultural land.

The project is taking place over several years, beginning in 2017. This year’s work started in July and, in order to minimise the impact on the environment on and around the Washes, had to be completed by 31 October.

The construction works were originally estimated to take place over four summers (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020), with a further year allowed to establish the new grass cover (2021).

The detailed design work continued through the winter period 2018-19. The evolving design and material inconsistency on site has resulted in a change to the intended bank profile, increasing the footprint of the Middle Level Barrier Bank and the need to import more material.

This additional work, along with periods of wet weather, has resulted in the construction programme being extended.

Claire Jouvray, Environment Agency Operations Manager for the Great Ouse catchment, said it was a vital scheme for people living in communities nearby.

She said:

We’ve had a really challenging year this year with road works impacting deliveries and the wet weather in September and October stopping work on the bank.

Thanks to partners, our contractors, neighbours and local authorities we have been able to keep disruption to a minimum.

We’d like to thank the local community for their patience and understanding during this complex programme of work which will take longer than predicted at the outset.

We will be holding public drop in events in the new year to showcase the work we have done so far, to outline the revised timescale for this vital scheme and discuss our plans for the Welney Wash road temporary barrier.

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