Flood defence scheme revealed

A MULTI-MILLION pound dam scheme to prevent destructive flooding from a river in north Essex has been revealed. The Environment Agency's £3.3 million plan for the River Colne at Halstead is designed to prevent a repeat of the scenes in October 2001, when much of the town was under water after freak flooding.

A MULTI-MILLION pound dam scheme to prevent destructive flooding from a river in north Essex has been revealed.

The Environment Agency's £3.3 million plan for the River Colne at Halstead is designed to prevent a repeat of the scenes in October 2001, when much of the town was under water after freak flooding.

The river's burst banks caused millions of pounds of damage to properties and serious disruption to the community.

The agency said it had considered a number of options but hoped the creation of a barrier across the river would create the least disruption to the town.


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The preferred option of the agency is for a "flood storage embankment" which would be constructed across the river, allowing normal flows to pass through, but be able to hold back potentially devastating floodwater.

The work, which could go-ahead next year or in 2005, has been welcomed by councillors and residents in Halstead.

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Chris Heap, manager of the Bull Hotel in Bridge Street, thought the plan was good news.

"During the floods last time there was 3ft of water in here, anything like this has got to be worth it. £3.3 million is cheap.

"There was a complete refurbishment of the whole hotel which cost about £250,000. Anything that keeps the water out and the customers in would be worth it," he said.

The executive councillor for environmental protection at Braintree District Council, Roger Walters, said the £3.3 million project was good news for the town.

He said: "There was a lot of interest from retailers and local residents in the Environment Agency's exhibition of options for solving the flood problem in Halstead.

"The exhibition had several solutions including building a dam to hold the water out of the town.

"I expect the most support will come for the dam scheme as the least intrusive and most effective way of curing the problem."

However, he added the idea would need to be fully understood and discussed with landowners, but the council would support the residents in finding the right solution.

Nigel Pask, the agency project manager, said: "The plans mean that Halstead will have a very high standard of flood defence with minimal disturbance to the town and local people."

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