Managing the risk of flooding

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The next steps in managing flood risk in a catchment area that comes up to Sleaford have been outlined by the Environment Agency (EA).

The plans relate to the Black Sluice catchment, an area spanning 640 sq km between Sleaford, Bourne, and Boston.

They are based on feedback from the community, local authorities and partner organisations, collected during a six-week consultation.

The EA asked for views on a number of options for the area – which includes Swaton, Billingborough and the South Forty Foot Drain where water flows into the Witham Haven – and for the future of Black Sluice pumping station in Boston.

A document summarising the results of the consultation and what happens next has now been published online. The main findings show:

n In the upper catchment, which comes up to Sleaford, most people support extra channel maintenance downstream of villages, closely followed by ‘slowing the flow’ upstream to hold water back

n In the lower catchment, most people support protecting low points along the raised embankments from overtopping and erosion

n Most people support the transfer of Black Sluice pumping station to the Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board (IDB)

Deborah Campbell, EA flood and coastal risk manager, thanked all those who took part in the consultation, adding: “We’re pleased to be working closely with Black Sluice IDB on the transfer of the pumping station in accordance with what the local community has voiced.

“Meanwhile, through routine maintenance and schemes to strengthen the banks and ‘slow the flow’ of water upstream of villages like Swaton, we’ll continue to reduce flood risk from the river even further to properties across the whole catchment.”

The next steps will see the EA submit a business case this spring to start carrying out works supported by the consultation that can attract full Government funding, including applying for £2million to protect the low points in embankments from erosion.

Additionally, a steering group led by an independent chairman has been formed to help partners keep in touch with other.

The EA and the IDB will work together on the transfer of the Black Sluice pumping station to the IDB and begin work on erosion-protection and ‘slowing the flow’ schemes.

Over the next two years, opportunities for longer-term funding will be investigated to enable the IDB to operate and maintain the pumping station in future. A plan will also be jointly created to maintain and operate other flood defences in the catchment.