Better flood defences for River Great Ouse

23 February 2011, 17:44 | Updated: 7 March 2011, 16:48

Maintenance work on the River Great Ouse in Newport Pagnell began this week (21 Feb) to improve flood defence management of the river.

At the same time, access for anglers will be improved by the Environment Agency which is carrying out the work.

Silt is being cleared from the River Great Ouse and the Mill Channel immediately upstream and downstream of the Newport Pagnell weir and Mill weir. This will improve flows during flooding and ensure that the Agency continues to receive accurate readings from the gauging station.

Three environmentally friendly angling platforms will also be installed with access steps in Castle Meadow. These platforms will provide good access to the River Great Ouse as well as the  River Ouzel.  Manufactured from recycled plastics, they require only minor maintenance and  help to reduce landfill and carbon emissions.

Valuable habitat for wildlife will be created by using the branches cut from trees overhanging the channel between North Bridge and Sherington Bridge. The branches will be carefully removed and stacked securely on adjacent banks of the river. This will ensure that they do not become loose or cause blockages in times of high flows. The removal of branches will reduce the risk of potential blockage in downstream structures in times of high water levels.

Chris Collin, Environment Agency officer, said: “This work will benefit people as well as the environment by reducing the risk of flooding and the provision of new angling platforms and wildlife habitat.

“We will try to ensure that our activities in this project cause as little disruption as possible. During the work mechanical excavators will be working from the river banks and within the channel. Traffic management will be in place but loading and unloading of machinery may temporarily restrict the highway. We have planned for deliveries to be made outside of peak hours and at different times and contractors’ vehicles will be parked off the highway.”

The need for the work was identified through an annual routine inspection and is estimated to take six weeks to complete. Jackson Civil Engineering will be undertaking the work on behalf of the Environment Agency.