£1.2m plan to im­prove Nene sluice

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By WIL­LIAM SMITH

A LAND­MARK flood de­fence on the River Nene is be­ing given a ma­jor £1.2 mil­lion facelift.

The En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s works to re­pair and re­fur­bish the Dog In A Dou­blet sluice, lo­cated al­most five miles down­stream of Peter­bor­ough, are now un­der­way.

The sluice forms the fur­thest point of the river’s tidal de­fences and con­trols the river lev­els fur­ther up­stream to­wards the city.

But it is cur­rently not fully func­tion­ing and needs to be re­turned to work­ing or­der. If it should fail, salt wa­ter could pass through and cause en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems and pre­vent ir­ri­ga­tion of farm­land.

Elisha Tafirenyika, from the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, said: “It is not fully op­er­a­tional be­cause the north sluice is jammed and de­te­ri­o­rat­ing.

“This work will en­sure that the sluice and lock re­main in good work­ing or­der – both for boaters on the River Nene and flood risk man­age­ment pur­poses – for years to come.”

The scheme in­cludes the re­fur­bish­ing and paint­ing of the sluice gates, which are 9.1m wide and 5.5m high, re­place­ment of the lower guide wheel as­sem­blies, re­pairs to the guide rails and new weed screens to pre­vent de­bris lodg­ing in the gates.

The lock will be closed to boats for more than a week in Oc­to­ber while they re­place elec­tri­cal sys­tems.

Ms Tafirenyika said: “We have timed the clo­sure to co­in­cide with the end of the boat­ing sea­son to try to min­imise dis­rup­tion to river users.

“While we un­der­stand this clo­sure may cause some in­con­ve­nience, these works are vi­tal if the sluice and lock are go­ing to con­tinue to ful­fil their pur­pose.

“If the sluice were to fail, its tidal lo­ca­tion would cause the up­stream chan­nel to be­come salty, pre­vent­ing wa­ter ab­strac­tion for ir­ri­ga­tion, caus­ing po­ten­tial dam­age to the neigh­bour­ing Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est and pre­vent­ing us from be­ing able to con­trol river lev­els for nav­i­ga­tion.”

The re­fur­bish­ment works are ex­pected to be com­pleted in Jan­uary 2011.

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