Is this a start to hopes of ending River Waring floods?

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Councillors in Horncastle have thrown their weight behind a project which, it is hoped, could eventually help end the flooding misery for some town residents.

While millions of pounds have been spent on food defences on the River Bain, many people have hit out at the fact little has been done to protect homes and businesses from the River Waring.

Earlier this year, several properties flooded, leading to a multi-agency investigation – the results of which are expected early next year.

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In the meantime, plans have been submitted for a project close the source of the River Waring near Belchford.

If approved by planners at East Lindsey District Council, wooden stakes would be driven into the river channel and 3m high earth banks – called bunds – erected in three different locations.

In times of heavy rain, the stakes will reduce the flow of water and any excess would be held behind the banks on farmland.

The bunds are on land owned by farmer and Louth businessman John Smith.

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He has warned that, on its own, the will not eradicate the risk of flooding in Belchford and downstream in Horncastle.

However, both Mr Smith and the Environment Agency say the Belchford project is part of other ‘interventions’ which could further reduce the flow of water.

The EA, though, has stressed any further work is dependant on funding, having previously ruled out similar expenditure to the Bain, largely because fewer properties in Horncastle are affected.

The latest development comes after Horncastle Town Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to support the work near Belchford.

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Mayor Coun Fiona Martin said the council would ‘support measures’ which reduced the risk of flooding.

Mr Smith told the News: “I don’t want anyone to get carried away by the level of impact this (Belchford work) could have.

“Yes, it will reduce the flow of water but we are perhaps talking about a one per cent solution to a 100 per cent problem.

“Instead of a million gallons of water flowing down to Horncastle in a day, it will now take five days.

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“I’d describe it as a mini project, compared to the Bain, but it is start and hopefully other things being talked about will help.”

A spokesperson for the EA revealed the project was being lead by the Lincolnshire Chalk Stream Partnership.

The Waring is classed as an important chalk stream and holding water back will prevent soil entering the river.

The spokesperson said: “This project is an excellent example of how working with nature can help us manage our river catchments while protecting our precious environment.

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“Through the Chalk Streams Partnership and working with local landowners, a number of small-scale features will be introduced, such as leaky barriers or bunds.

“These will help slow the flow of water through the catchment and reduce the amount of soil run-off from nearby fields.

“The partnership are also investigating a number of other simple interventions to further progress this project, dependant on funding.

“The project will help reduce flood risk, but extreme rainfall like the area experienced this Autumn would likely still cause issues given the amount and intensity of the rainfall.”

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Horncastle has experienced twice its average rainfall for the season.

The spokesperson added: “Of course, we can never completely eliminate the risk of flooding so we’d remind people to check their risk and sign up for flood warnings.”