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Plans to boost wildlife in Crowland and Cowbit

Plans could be in the pipeline to boost wildlife in Crowland and Cowbit Washes.

The Welland Valley Partnership, led by the Rivers Trust, is looking into the possibility of creating ‘scrapes’ in the washes to provide an area for wading birds.

Last week our sister paper, The Spalding Guardian, reported that the banks at Crowland and Cowbit washes are coming to the end of their design life - prompting flooding fears for village homes.

Cowbit Wash on Christmas Day 2020 (51645128)
Cowbit Wash on Christmas Day 2020 (51645128)

The Rivers Trust has been running a feasibility study to see if it would be possible to re-establish the washes but this idea has been shelved in favour of creating small scrapes.

Project manager Chris French said: “The Fenland area is probably the most altered landscape in the UK and historically, it was one of the largest wetland systems.

“It is a fine balance between delivering environmental objectives and protecting our food which is why we need to work with farmers and not against them.”

The feasibility study is advising creating small scrapes to “extend and enhance the existing areas which currently experience flooding over the winter months.”

The study also states: “Natural topographic low points can be extended so that they contain a small amount of standing water, up to a maximum depth of 30cm.”

An Environment Agency report to Lincolnshire County Council reported that the Crowland and Cowbit washes were coming to the end of their design life.

It also stated that: “Overtopping is possible and seepage is occuring.”

Cowbit Parish Council chairman Trevor Tyrrell said: “My personal view is that I am concerned about the River Welland flooding and the safety of the village as Cowbit Wash is no longer safe to stand large quantities of water as it was years ago.”

The washes were created in around 1664.

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