So much silt ‘ducks walk on water’ in Wainfleet

There is more concern about the amount of silt in the River Steeping at Wainfleet following a day of rain last Wednesday. ANL-160314-153752001
There is more concern about the amount of silt in the River Steeping at Wainfleet following a day of rain last Wednesday. ANL-160314-153752001
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A river in Wainfleet is so silted up it the ducks appear to be ‘walking on water’.

This is the claim of residents who fear banks along the River Steeping that are riddled with holes made by burrowing badgers may collapse, flooding hundreds of properties in the town.

I don’t understand how badgers can take more of a priority than humans

Mayor Anton Willerton

Concern was highlighted last Wednesday when Environment Agency flood alerts for the River Steeping between Wainfleet and Tetford were issued due to heavy rainfall.

Last month, Matt Warman, MP for Skegness and Boston, hosted a meeting between the Environment Agency (EA) and local councillors when they discussed the construction of an artificial sett in order to relocate the badgers.

However, Coun Chris Pain, of Lincolnshire County Council, believes this is not enough.

“There is money in the local precept to desilt the river,” said Coun Pain. “Near the brewery it is so bad ducks are walking on water. If there had been a tidal surge on Wednesday in addition to the rain the town would have flooded.”

Mayor Anton Willerton said the parish council had received many complaints about the amount of silt in the river.

He said: “Local anglers used to have eight or nine feet to fish in but now it’s down to three or four feet or less. I have heard people say in places it’s so bad the ducks appear to be walking on water.

“The EA have told us desilting the river is not a priority because of the number of houses. But it doesn’t matter whether it’s one or 1,000 houses - it’s a problem. I don’t understand how badgers can take more of a priority than humans.”

EA area manager Mike Dugher said: “Working with the county and district councils and Lindsey Marsh Internal Drainage Board, we are investigating the best way to manage flood risk across the Steeping catchment.

“Our modelling shows that current silt levels have not significantly increased flood risk and therefore de-silting alone would not sufficiently reduce flood risk to justify the cost according to current funding rules.

“However, in parallel to our catchment-wide investigations, we’re looking at options to strengthen the southern bank of the Wainfleet relief channel to reduce flood risk and improve access for maintenance.

“As with all our flood defences, we continue to monitor the banks, carry out routine maintenance and precautionary works during times of high flow to help reduce flood risk to the local community.”