Matt Warman MP last Friday hosted a meeting between the Environment Agency and Wainfleet Town, Parish and District Councillors, to discuss concerns about the possible flood risk to the town posed by extensive badger setts potentially compromising the structural integrity of the bank on the River Steeping.
Following an on-site review of the area, Councillors and the EA discussed possible solutions to the problem which included the construction of an artificial sett in order to relocate the badgers away from existing setts that are undermining the banks. As the badgers are a protected species, relocation work will be carried out during the non-breeding season in order to minimise disruption whilst fulfilling the EA’s primary aim of protecting people and property.
Deborah Campbell, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager, assured the meeting that, should EA forecasts show a risk to the bank in the meantime either from overtopping or collapse, an immediate response team is in place to ‘sheet’ the bank in order to prevent the river water flowing into the bank and potentially damaging nearby land and property.
Phil Younge, EA Area Manager for Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, told the meeting that the maximum in Government funding had been secured for the project, and the EA’s concern was to spend the money in the most effective way to ensure a long term solution. In response to questions from Cllr Neil Cooper, Mr Younge confirmed that the EA would be keen to work with the local community and landowners to utilise local knowledge and resources to deliver the best possible outcome.
Summing up, Cllr Wendy Bowkett stressed the importance of initiating works as soon as possible in order to prevent the risk to Wainfleet posed by a potential collapse of the bank. Cllr Bowkett said “I am very pleased to have had this meeting with the Environment Agency. We need to get these works underway as soon as possible to rectify this problem. I look forward to working in partnership with the EA on this project, and to having regular update meetings in the future to discuss this and the dredging of the River Steeping.”
Speaking after the meeting, Matt said “I am pleased that the Environment Agency have a plan in place to deal with this issue both in the short term and in providing a permanent solution. It is encouraging to hear the willingness of both the EA and the local community to work together to share knowledge and resources to ensure the best outcome for the residents of Wainfleet. I know councillors, residents and others will join me in making sure that it is delivered as soon as possible”.