Surfleet Reservoir flood: pensioner asks why Environment Agency keeps river level so high
A resident of Surfleet Reservoir blames the Environment Agency (EA) for a flood when the River Glen overtopped its banks and surged into more than half-a-dozen gardens.
Roy Sell (80) praised South Holland District Council for its quick response to his wife Mary’s plea for sandbags and to Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, who were on the scene for more than six hours pumping out.
Gardens were inches deep in water in Tuesday morning, stopping the pumps linked to cesspits and loos, but homes remained dry.
Roy said: “We have lived in the house for 14 years – the floodwater has been in the house twice and this will be the fourth time the bank has been breached.”
He said the level of the Glen is six inches higher now it is controlled by the EA instead of a drainage board and accuses the EA of a “complete disregard and rejection of local knowledge and requests concerning the control of the River Glen water level”.
Roy said: “They (the EA) say they need it for the water extraction by the farmers but the amount of water we have had over the last two years the farmers don’t need it.”
He says he and his wife had a telephone flood alert the night before the flood – when nothing happened – but they received no warning on Tuesday morning and the flood happened around 10am.
The EA was asked about the Glen running six inches higher than before and a spokesman told us: “Over the last few days, our staff have worked hard to reduce the risk of flooding to properties within Surfleet reservoir.
“In response to the heavy rainfall over the River Glen catchment, our duty staff lowered the water levels to reduce the risk of flooding to properties within Surfleet reservoir during tide lock periods (when it is hard to discharge flood water).
“On Tuesday morning high river flows and high tides meant that during tide lock river levels briefly reached 3.5m, this is the point that water starts to overtop the bank of the river and enter some gardens within the reservoir.
“A Flood Alert was issued and no properties flooded. With increasing river flows and the Tuesday afternoon tide expected to be the same as the morning, our staff dropped the river levels further, ensuring that the risk of flooding to properties was further reduced.
“Last June, we held a community engagement event to enable residents to ask questions and understand how and when we operate the reservoir and to increase their understanding of flood risk.
“We advised all residents to register for the free Floodline Service – 0345-988-1188 – and met them to understand their concerns. We always welcome their input.
“We have also met with the Welland and Deepings Internal Drainage Board to discuss how we collectively manage flood risk.”