Flood barrier at Welney Wash Road work timings

Closed 30 Sep 2020

Opened 12 Mar 2020

Results updated 29 Mar 2021


We ran the consultation for 29 weeks from the 12 March to the 30 September 2020. We publicised the consultation and information page on Ouse Washes Section 10 Works through a press release, newsletters, stakeholder briefings, and on our social media including our own East Anglia Twitter feed. We were not able to hold drop-in events due to Covid-19 restrictions coinciding with the consultation period.

We asked the communities for their preferred option on the best time to complete the demountable flood barrier works at Welney Wash Road.

We gave communities the options of three separate time periods within the time window that we are allowed to do the work. We asked them to nominate the most preferred (1), second best (2) and least preferred option (3):

The time periods are April to June 2021, June to August 2021 and August to October 2021.


We received 101 responses to the consultation and 93% responded as individuals and 7% on behalf of an organisation or group. 

The majority of respondents (53%) chose June to August as their preferred period for closing the Welney Wash Road for a few weeks based on school holidays. Comments provided on the survey support these results, making it clear that the preferred option is when the schools of the area are closed. Closing the road impacts motorists especially families that drive children to school.

As a second option with 34% is the April to June 2021 period and the third with 11% is the August to October 2021 period. 2% of respondents chose not to reply to the above question. See the full report below. 


April, May, June

June, July, August

August, September, October

No preferred period






Response to the results

We thank the people who took time to respond and put their suggestions forward on the preferred timing to close the road in order to complete the essential flood barrier works.

We consider the majority preferred option to be the ideal time to conduct these works too because of the increased probability of dry and fair weather that would allow us to do all the necessary work.

Issues with completing last year's works

The weather last year had not been kind to the project as we lost several weeks due to wet weather conditions. This is due to the nature of the material. Once it rains, we must stop work as the clay becomes very slippery and dangerous for machinery and staff to work with. The rain had saturated and flooded the haul roads making it difficult to work on the dry days. We used pumps to try remove some of the water from the haul roads.

Another factor that caused us to stop work early was that the Ouse Washes flood storage reservoir started to fill earlier than usual, and the water level against the bank became too high to continue working safely.

We will need to return this year to complete the bank works between Welney and the railway bridge.

We would have liked to comply with the majority of opinions canvassed on this consultation but here’s what we have to take into consideration:

  • We will need to complete banks works that we had to stop due to the weather conditions before we can start the barrier foundation work
  • We will be delivering clay for the bank raising works using the Welney access so we can’t do the bank works and the barrier works at the same time.
  • This means we won’t be able to do the barrier works during the preferred period of working (June to August 2021).

Conclusion and next steps

In conclusion we have decided to postpone and reschedule the demountable flood barrier works to:

Summer 2022 - to allow time to complete the bank works that we hadn’t been able to do in 2020.

This enables us to remain on track to complete construction works by the end of 2022 and to do the barrier works within the preferred time period (June to August) identified in the consultation, with the temporary road closure during school holidays.

We have updated the relevant MPs and Parish Councils so they are informed of the complexity of timings and constraints we encountered. 

Next steps will be to issue a stakeholder briefing, a community newsletter and organise a virtual drop-in in May 2021 to showcase the project so far, the plans in relation to the demountable flood barrier at Welney Wash Road, provide a visual representation of the Ouse Washes and respond to any enquiries.

Below is the full consultation report and the frequently asked questions documents




We are the authority responsible for the safety of reservoirs and the Ouse Washes is one of them. As part of the bank works we are doing within the Reservoirs Act we need to provide a more robust barrier on the Welney Wash Road, when needed. We have sourced a demountable barrier option that will provide the robust flood protection solution and will be bespoke to Welney.

More Information

The Welney Wash Road crosses the Ouse Washes Flood Storage Reservoir and creates a low point in the Middle Level Barrier Bank. This low point increases the flood risk to the local community and the chance of a breach in the bank if water levels were to overtop it.
When the Washes is flooded and the water level at Welney reaches a predetermined level, Norfolk County Council highways team closes the road.

We are asking for your views on when to close the road to build a concrete foundation slab across the Welney Wash Road. This work will allow us to install the demountable flood barrier in, if needed, to help protect the communities from any water spilling from the Ouse Washes.

Please be mindful this barrier (see below schematic) will be installed across the Welney Wash Road only when the Ouse Washes flood and the water level at Welney reaches a predetermined level.  When the Ouse Washes flood the Welney Wash Road is and will  remain impassable to traffic. This is a flood barrier that will protect against any water spilling from the washes and becoming a flood threat to the village.  

We appreciate that closing the Welney Wash Road will have considerable impact to the local community. We want to reduce that impact as much as possible by working with you to identify the most appropriate time of year to close the road for the construction works. There are times of the year when we are unable to carry out this work, due to bird overwintering and breeding on the Washes (November to March).

We expect that the total construction time will be 14 weeks. Out of these 14 weeks, we will need to close the road for 6-8 weeks.

More Information

A road closure is necessary due to the excavation depth and the number of services buried under the road. We need to build the formwork/temporary mould, install the reinforcement, cast the concrete and wait for it to set which can take up to 28 days. We will need all the available road space to do this.

Why your views matter

To ask the communities affected by the road closure for their preferred option on the best time to close the Welney Wash Road for a few weeks.

Responding To The Consultation

Due to the current conditions the consultation (that started on Thursday 12 June) has been prolonged until the end of September 2020.  

We monitor your responses and update our frequently asked questions (FAQs) to include your comments and provide the most up to date information. Scroll below to see the attached FAQs.

Please click on the link below to answer the consultation questions. Submitting your response online will help us gather and summarise responses quickly, accurately and cost effectively.

However, there are other ways to provide us with your response:

  • you can join us at a future rescheduled drop-in event (provided there are no restrictitions on gatherings)
  • you can still submit your response by email (send it to enquiries_eastanglia@environment-agency.gov.uk ) by using the heading 'Proposals for closing the Welney Wash Road in 2021'  downloading the response form  and attaching it.

If you have any problems accessing the documents throughout this consultation, please get in touch on the above email address.

What happens next

Thank you for responding to this consultation.

Following the end of the consultation we will produce a consultation response document and this will be published on this consultation’s web page .  We will email you to let you know when we have published this document if you have requested that we do so.

Thank you

Ouse Washes Section 10 project team


  • Drop-in event - POSTPONED

    From 18 Mar 2020 at 15:30 to 18 Mar 2020 at 19:30

    Due to the current situation we are unable to hold any engagement events in the foreseeable future. Visit these pages for more up to date news.


  • Members of the public
  • Town and parish councils
  • Regional Flood and Coastal Committees
  • Internal Drainage Boards


  • Flood management