Village flood defence work starts

WORK is set to begin this week on a “much-needed” £650,000 flood defence system for a north Essex village.Sible Hedingham's new alleviation scheme will see floodwater from the River Colne diverted into three lagoons to help reduce risk of damage to nearby land and homes.

WORK is set to begin this week on a “much-needed” £650,000 flood defence system for a north Essex village.

Sible Hedingham's new alleviation scheme will see floodwater from the River Colne diverted into three lagoons to help reduce risk of damage to nearby land and homes.

County councillor and local resident David Finch said the scheme was aimed at preventing the type of severe flooding that blighted the area several years ago and has affected many homes in other parts of the country in recent weeks.

He said: “I can only imagine what untold misery it must bring to people to have their homes flooded. This is a reaction to the floods of 2001. Having been struck once we want to make sure lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place.”


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He said questions had been raised about the cost of the project, but it would provide a “significant measure of public reassurance”.

The three lagoons will be constructed on existing water courses to store excess water from the surrounding area before channelling it away towards the River Colne with the help of “hydro brakes”.

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The scheme will take 13 weeks to complete and was designed with help from the Environment Agency, Braintree District Council, Sible Hedingham Parish Council and landowners.

It was initiated because the stream that flows beneath Wethersfield Road, Church Street and Swan Street regularly leaves the all three locations flooded, affecting a number of nearby buildings including the couth library.

The county council claims the system will meet the latest environmental standards.

The areas around the lagoons will also be planted with “suitable species” to alleviate their visual impact and create habitats for wildlife.

Any existing hedgerows disturbed by work will be replaced and detailed surveys have been carried out looking at the local reptile population, which will be provided with a new habitat by the lagoons.

Norman Hume, Essex County Council's cabinet member for highways and transportation, said he was “delighted” the scheme was going ahead.

He said: “The main southern entry to Sible Hedingham is already at risk from flooding and that will only increase if the predictions of climate experts come true. With this scheme, this will hopefully be alleviated for many years to come.”

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