More floods as town put at risk by weeds

The reeds choking the River Slea were close to causing a flood in parts of Sleaford says Paul Cleaver. EMN-191015-155408001
The reeds choking the River Slea were close to causing a flood in parts of Sleaford says Paul Cleaver. EMN-191015-155408001

After days of further rainfall, the Sleaford area was again at risk of flooding with warnings issued on Monday and Tuesday by the Environment Agency for Ruskington Beck.

A statement from the agency said on Tuesday: “River levels are currently rising at the Ruskington river gauge as a result of heavy rainfall.

Flooding on Meadowbrook on Monday night in Ruskington. Photo: Eddie Findlay. EMN-191015-155323001

Flooding on Meadowbrook on Monday night in Ruskington. Photo: Eddie Findlay. EMN-191015-155323001

“Consequently, flooding of property/roads and farmland is possible and river levels are forecast to remain high for the next few days.”

Areas around the Ruskington Beck including Manor Street, High Street South, High Street North, Chapel Street and Chestnut Street were at risk, but so far banks had not been breached.

However, residents reported repeated flooding of the street in Meadowbrook due to a drainage fault, as well as gardens on Westcliffe Road which were flooded a week ago. Residents complained passing drivers were causing bow waves onto gardens.

Last week’s rain also threatened to flood low-lying parts of Sleaford town itself on Thursday and Friday as one Holdingham resident claimed vital weed clearance had not yet been done.

Paul Cleaver lives at Holdingham Mill on the River Slea. He said if he had not alerted the Environment Agency his home would have been flooded, as the river was choked with reeds restricting the flow. He said water reached levels unseen in over 50 years, swelling the river to 50 feet across, but the blockage prevented the alarm being triggered at a monitoring station further downstream.

He said: “The Environment Agency sent diggers down and dredged it the same day, but it should not have happened. We have never been flooded, but came damn close.”

An Environment Agency spokesperson said officers attended the site and carried out weed clearance to avert the flooding of the property.

She added: “This work had been scheduled for completion at the end of the month so was brought forward. We will review our maintenance programme to consider the most appropriate frequency of weed clearance along that section.”

They are currently assessing water flows in the River Slea, and pinch points at old locks and mill weirs, to identify benefits and opportunities to the Sleaford area.