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Fears over flooding

PUBLISHED: 15:05 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:57 12 July 2010

Villagers at Forncett St Peter, near Long Stratton, meet Richard Bacon MP to highlight the increasing problem of flooding on the River Tas during periods of high rainfall.

Villagers at Forncett St Peter, near Long Stratton, meet Richard Bacon MP to highlight the increasing problem of flooding on the River Tas during periods of high rainfall.

Fears have been raised that lives, properties, and livestock are being put at risk as a result of the neglect of routine maintenance at a south Norfolk river.

Fears have been raised that lives, properties, and livestock are being put at risk as a result of the neglect of routine maintenance at a south Norfolk river.

Dozens of villagers from Forncett St Peter, near Long Stratton, turned out in force last week to raise their concerns about the increased flooding of the River Tas.

Four vehicles have become trapped in the ford in Wash Lane over the last two years and residents have reported flood waters coming up to their doorsteps following a lack of routine dredging.

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon, who visited the village on Friday , pledged to raise the matter with the Environment Agency and to get the government body to take action over the Tas Valley flooding.

It comes after 18-year-old Mark Cranswick had a lucky escape in October after he became trapped in his Ford Fiesta by the flooded ford in Wash Lane and a Lotus Elise became immersed last month.

Villagers yesterday said that a few inches of rain could cause serious flooding to gardens, fields, roads and cut off parts of Forncett St Peter. They are now calling on the Environment Agency to carry out the regular removal of silt and vegetation build-ups from the Tas between the Lower Tasburgh Mill to Wash Lane, which runs through four parishes.

Roger Ranson, who has lived in Forncett St Peter for four years, said the flooding had got worse since the responsibility of river maintenance transferred from internal drainage boards to the Environment Agency in 2006.

“The problem seems to be that there is no money for river maintenance and the Environment Agency do not seem to take the matter seriously and are not aware of the risk to properties and highways,” he said.

Mr Bacon said it was “obvious” that the government agency was not doing its job and he would be inviting officials to return to the village.

“Our landscape and environment have been shaped by human intervention for thousands of years and to sit back and allow it to naturalise belies what has been going on for a long time. If the roads are becoming impassable six or seven times a year, then the balance is wrong.”

“There are real threats to human life and threats to animal welfare and it is quite clear that something needs to done,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said that the River Tas was considered to be in “good condition”, but the organisation was planning to clear the channels at some “problem spots” between October this year and March 2010.


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