Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

12 FEB 2014

Bid to protect City homes by flooding Itchen Valley farmland

The Environment Agency joined force with Highways overnight this week as watercourses in the Itchen were blocked to ease the flow of water downstream into Winchester.

The work took place on Tuesday night and was completed in the early hours of Wednesday morning at Easton, with large sandbags (pictured below) being lowered into place after Highways closed one lane of the M3.

This allowed more of a controlled flow of the River Itchen, which was continuing to rise, through Winnall Moors.

Steve Brine, who is also an Easton resident, said: "This is certainly a roll of the dice and it's a damn big dice but it might just work.

"This is not about one thing saving Winchester or one area upstream being sacrificed to save anywhere else, it's a really delicate balancing act that is being performed by the EA and other agencies and I am supporting their professional judgement."

Cllr Kim Gottlieb said: "The plan is to use the fields to the west of Easton as a holding tank, and to monitor it closely to ensure that it doesn't impact on any housing or on the road coming in from the B3407.

"Upstream there should be relatively little impact caused by these works and generally in the vicinity of Easton, the EA are expecting the river to rise no more than half a metre.

"There is, inevitably, an element of suck it and see, but it did seem to me that EA have very carefully worked this plan out, and they, the Highways Agency and other authorities should be commended for their swift action which will hopefully address current problems in the city centre."

Speaking with Steve Brine to Meridian on Wednesday 12th February, the Environment Agency's Mike O'Neill said: "The idea is that we'll restrict the flow coming down the River Itchen and back the water up to flood the fields here.

"It won't impact on any property and it'll mean that the water will just sit across the field, and there will less water going down the channel towards Winchester."

A spokesman for local power company also confirmed to Steve Brine that the power cut in the village on Wednesday was not linked to the work, and had been a result of strong wonds bringing down an overhead cable.

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