Have a say on flood risk plans

Black Sluice pumping station
Black Sluice pumping station

The risks of flooding to Sleaford area villages will be on the agenda at a public consultation being held next week.

A six-week public consultation on how to best manage future flood risk in the Black Sluice catchment will begin on Monday, August 17.

The Black Sluice catchment is the area around the South Forty Foot Drain where water flows into the River 

It includes the Black Sluice Pumping Station and the villages of Swaton and Billingborough, which have previously experienced both surface water and river flooding.

The catchment is predominantly prime agricultural land. The Environment Agency’s (EA) priority is to protect people and their homes, but flood risk to farming and national food security is also an important consideration.

The consultation seeks views on a number of options to reduce flood risk for the catchment as a whole, as well as options for the future of the pumping station.

The pumping station was built in 1946 and all five of its pumps are at the end of their working life. Options for its future include replacing the pumps, removing them, or transferring them to the local internal drainage board.

Deborah Campbell, flood risk manager at the EA, said: “We’ve been looking at flood risk management here since 2012, and it makes more sense for us to look at the catchment as a whole, rather than just the pumping station in isolation. This will allow us to make best use of Government funding to reduce the risk to people’s homes and businesses.”

“The pumping station was never built to reduce flood risk to people’s homes, but rather to drain water from surrounding land. We want to reassure people that from our initial surveys, no homes would be at an increased risk if the pumps were decommissioned.

“While the Black Sluice pumping station does reduce flood risk to areas of agricultural land, this isn’t enough for Government to fund all the work. Our investigations have shown us that all the other drainage and flood risk structures in the catchment provide far more protection to this nationally important area for food production. This is why we are considering a range of options throughout the catchment, and we will continue our ongoing work and maintenance in the area to reduce the risk of flooding.”

She added: “This consultation is a chance for you to tell us your thoughts, and your views will help bring to light any other factors we should take into account when considering our realistic options.”

An information event where people can learn more about the options, takes place on August 25, 1–8pm, at Billingborough Village Hall.