Flood defence works at Ashlone Wharf

Published: Friday 18th February 11

The Environment Agency has announced plans to refurbish Ashlone Wharf - an important flood defence structure which manages the flow of water between Beverley Brook and the River Thames.

The project is expected to start in April this year, lasting until December.

The wharf, which is located to the south of Barn Elms Playing Fields, is in a  poor condition and requires urgent repairs. Engineers anticipate the gates would completely fail within the next few years if no action were taken, exposing the surrounding area to the risk of tidal flooding from the River Thames.

The Environment Agency confirm the flood defence project is not related to Thames Water's plan to use Barn Elms as a tunnelling site and will not affect the scheme's planning process.

A secure construction site will be created around the wharf for the duration of the works and a temporary road will run along the edge of the sports pitches to provide vehicle access to the site from Queen Elizabeth Walk. A small compound will also be set up in the southern corner of the playing fields. A map showing their exact locations is available on the council's website.

Some tree thinning works and the removal of overgrown shrubs along Beverly Brook are being undertaken now in preparation for the main engineering works. This has to be done in advance to avoid the birds' nesting season.

Removing overhanging branches and shrubs will allow more sunlight to reach the brook, helping reeds growing in the shallow water to thrive. A healthier reed bed is important to stabilising the brook's silt levels and will improve the environment for fish and other river wildlife. Further landscaping and reed bed planting will take place later in the project.

The Environment Agency does not need planning permission to carry out works to flood defence structures like Ashlone Wharf and has a right of access to the site through the playing fields.

The council is working with the project team to ensure they cause a minimum of disruption to the sports facilities at Barn Elms' and residents living close to the site.

Environment Agency officials are writing to homes in the surrounding area to explain the project and has agreed to hold site visits later in the year to further explain the nature and purpose of the works. Their newsletter is also available on the council's website.

For more information, and to register your interest in attending a site visit, contact the Environment Agency's project manager David Blythin on 01276 454705 or email david.blythin@environment-agency.gov.uk.  

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