Culvert clearance backed by Saffron Walden town councillors

PUBLISHED: 13:21 17 December 2014 | UPDATED: 13:21 17 December 2014

Saffron Walden Town Hall

Saffron Walden Town Hall

Archant

A “giant vacuum cleaner” will be pumping debris from the heart of the town next month.

Saffron Walden Town Council has given its backing to the Environment Agency (EA) for the project, which will see a pump, attached to a truck, clearing out the culvert in two to three weeks from mid January.

Failure to clear the pipe, which channels the river Slade and runs right through the heart of the town, could result in an increased flood risk, potential disruption to the town’s economy, commuters, and even the emergency services, EA has said.

Addressing the town council at a meeting last Thursday night, Liz Taylor of the EA likened the pump to a “giant vacuum cleaner”, and said the agency was not asking for money, but for the council’s support to show members of the public a united front.

‘Riparian’ owners – property owners whose land neighbours a river, stream or ditch – are financially responsible for the upkeep of culvert which goes through their land, and will receive a letter explaining their responsibilities.

“I have a sense that it could be difficult with riparian owners,” said councillor Keith Eden, who suggested some might be unwilling to pay, or potentially absent when the letter arrived.

Ms Taylor replied it was not yet time for such concerns until the scale of the damage was known.

The town council voted unanimously to write a letter of support for the project, with permission for the EA to use their logo where appropriate in their communications.

The clearance and inspection of the culvert has been funded jointly by the Environment Agency and Essex Highways. The truck will be based first ‘upstream’ at Saffron Walden police station, then ‘downstream’ at the golf club, from mid January 2015.

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