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13 July 2012, 14:52
£21 million pounds is going to be spent giving homes and businesses around Whittlesey better flood protection.
The higher level flood defences at Whittlesey Washes will give better flood protection to the Whittlesey, Coates and Eastrea area, which is home to around 15,000 people.
The funding for the work is coming from the Environment Agency, which had originally planned to only spend between £3 million and £5 million on new flood defences in the area.
According to North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay, this would have weakened existing flood defences to allow 'controlled flooding' at certain times of the year during heavy rainfall, leading to reduced flood protection.
However following pressure from Mr Barclay and local campaigners, the Environment Agency has decided to implement a much larger scheme and carry out repairs and install high level flood protection along the length of the South Barrier Bank, just east of Whittlesey.
Mr Barclay said: "I am delighted that the Environment Agency has reached a decision in line with the wishes of our community.
Their initial scheme would have meant a significant increase in the flood risk for many of my constituents around Coates, Eastrea and Whittlesey which was not acceptable.
The new proposals mark a significant shift by the Environment Agency which shows they have listened and engaged constructively since concerns were highlighted with them, and I am grateful to them for doing so."