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The Ely Ouse Lodes Strategy Study (pdf)

Our Lodes - e-Petition reply

17 July 2008

We received a petition asking:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to ensure that the Cambridgeshire Lodes don't get ditched!"

Details of Petition:
"Some 30 years ago, a successful campaign was waged to save The Cambridgeshire Lodes, ancient canals of probable Roman origin - principally Bottisham, Swaffham Bulbeck, Reach, Burwell and Wicken Lodes - which were threatened by the then authorities. A decision was made to maintain and to preserve The Lodes.
Such is the situation today: The Lodes have been maintained and preserved. But new documents indicate that The Environment Agency has commissioned a 'scoping report' costing some £200,000 and that it is looking critically at The Lodes, an option again being that of converting all or some of them into ditches.
The old campaign slogan - 'Don't Ditch Our Lodes!' - is just as relevant now as it was in the 1970s. A new factor is The National Trust's plans to buy up and partially to flood some 10,000 acres of rich fen land and the Trust says that 'lowering' some of The Lodes would be 'acceptable.' Lowering is much the same as ditching. The Swaffham Internal Drainage Board and Swaffham Prior Parish Council support The Lodes being maintained. But the Philistines could be triumphant if their opponents are inactive. So, this is a call to those with influence to use it!"

Read the Government's response

There is a long history of slips and leakage through the embankments that contain the Lodes. From time to time it has been necessary to make repairs to the embankments to prevent massive failure, which would result in flooding of the surrounding land.

Continued shrinkage and wastage of the fen peat could cause a worsening of this problem, particularly on Reach Lode as this is the highest and least stable of the Lodes embankments. Maintenance and rebuilding works could be needed indefinitely.

At the end of 2007, the Environment Agency published the Ely Ouse Lodes Strategic Environmental Assessment - Consultation Document. The Environment Agency's aim is to formulate an appropriate and sustainable approach to the future maintenance and operation of the Lodes on the basis of current land use, whilst taking into consideration potential land use changes over the next 100 years.

The consultation document gave everyone the chance to comment on the options for maintenance of the Lodes. The option preferred by the Environment Agency and most of those who responded to the consultation, is to maintain the Lodes at their present level and undertake repairs as and when required.

The final Ely Ouse Lodes Flood Risk Management Strategy Report was published in April 2008, along with a Strategic Environmental Assessment.
The report concluded that the preferred option is to continue maintaining the Lodes at the current level by carrying out repairs as and when required, unless a change in landuse causes a raised groundwater level. An increase in groundwater level may, depending on the degree of increase and height of the Lode, cause the risk of failure of the Lode banks to become unmanageable. In which case a further flood risk management option would be adopted, whereby the embankments would be strengthened to reduce the risk of having to carry out future repairs.

IWA Branch, Great Ouse

The river gives access to Reach, Burwell, Swaffham and Wicken Lodes
and connects with the Great Ouse.

River Cam, (From Wikipedia)

Conservators of the River Cam

- are the statutory navigation authority for Cambridge between The Mill Pond, Silver Street, Cambridge to Bottisham Lock with lesser responsibilities up-stream to Byronís Pool.

The Tuesday Night Club on Tour, Tour 2001, in 4 parts!
The Lark and Lodes. Cambridge.