The barrier will be used to prevent water spilling from the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir into Welney village. It will replace the use of large sandbags to create a temporary barrier across Welney Wash Road, the A1101. The barrier will be installed when the water level in the reservoir is extremely high and the road has been closed by Norfolk County Council.

A concrete slab will need to be built across the road for the barriers to slide into, requiring its closure for a few weeks. A consultation was carried out in 2020 to find out when the local community would prefer the work to be carried out. They voted to have it take place between June and September.

Between 13 June and 19 July 2-way traffic lights will be in place but only as work require them. The full road closure will take place from 20 July to 25 August. The road will then revert to 2-way traffic lights as the footpath is re-installed from 26 August to 16 September.

Nicola Oldfield, Ouse Washes project lead, said:

We know the impact that flooding can have, which is why protecting people and communities is our priority.

This is one of the final parts of a vital long-term investment and refurbishment programme to maintain the dam of the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir.

We appreciate the length of this closure will have an impact on residents and businesses. However, we are grateful for their input during the consultation to ensure that this is minimised as much as possible.

Clearly signposted diversion routes will be in place for the duration of the work.

Everyone should know their flood risk and sign up for free flood warnings by going to or calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. You can also follow @EnvAgency on Twitter for the latest flood updates.

The Environment Agency has launched an online virtual exhibition room to provide the local community with information about the work. The room includes links about the construction of the Welney barrier, footpath closure maps and more. It will be open until September 2022. More information can be found at: Environment Agency (

A video showing how the work will be carried out can be found at:How the construction work along the Welney Wash Road will work. – YouTube

Notes to editor

  • Further information about the diversions can be found at:

  • Between 2015 and 2020, we have invested more than £1 billion on maintaining flood and coastal defences nationally. This includes investing in developing technology and direct maintenance work such as dredging, inspecting assets, and carrying out repairs.

  • Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir is approximately 30 kilometres long, varies in width between 200 metres and 800 metres and covers an area of approximately 1,900 hectares. When full it stores approximately 90,000,000 cubic metres of water above the surrounding land. This is enough water to fill Wembley Stadium 22 times. The reservoir protects 2,000 properties, roads, railways and more than 67,000 hectares of farmland from winter flooding.

  • The construction work is being carried out by contractors Jackson’s Civil Engineering.

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    Flood barrier installation work set to begin this summer

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