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Thu May 06 2021

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Mick George helps JacksonHyder raise Fenland embankments

16 Aug 17 Earthworks contractor Mick George has started work on raising the flood banks at the Ouse Washes reservoir, spanning Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

Mick George at work
Mick George at work

Mick George has a £10.5m earthworks subcontract, working to main contractor JacksonHyder on the £27m Environment Agency project.

Originally constructed in the 1630s as part of the drainage of the Fens, the embankments have been repeatedly modified and repaired until major works were last undertaken between 1990 and 1996 to raise and formalise the banks’ with imported, locally sourced materials. The embankments themselves comprise of Kimmeridge Clay, Glacial Till and Overburden Hoggin, but with compressible peat and tidal flat deposits lying beneath.

The project is primarily concerned with raising the height of the Middle Level Barrier Bank between 600mm and 800mm right along the 30km embankment stretch, from Earith to Welmore Lake Sluice, Salters Lode. Mick George will for the main part act as a major supplier of the materials, as well as completing the formation of the banks.

This is the first stage of the flood defence scheme, which is anticipated to take up to three years to complete, with work limited through summer to autumn, to avoid disturbance of breeding birds.

The first year of works will concentrate on areas through Welney and Mepal, on the Middle Level Barrier Bank, and between Sutton Gault and Chain Corner on the South Level Barrier Bank. Following construction works there will be a further two years of maintenance works to establish grass cover to stabilise the banks.

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The flood bank is the dam of the flood storage reservoir, the area of the Ouse Washes which is deliberately flooded.

When full, the reservoir stores approximately 90 million cubic metres of water. It protects thousands of properties, roads, railways and more than 67,000 hectares of farmland from winter flooding.

Michael George, contracts director at Mick George Ltd, said: “The site has a lot of heritage, and we believe, being a local company serving the surrounding regions on a daily basis, that we are best placed to deliver the project with the attention that is required.

“We recognise the impact that the current failures of the embankments have on nearby residents, visitors and business operators like ourselves, so have a vested interest in enhancing the location to the highest standard.”

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