ARRANGEMENTS that would help alleviate flooding around the Bickerley could take up to ten years, Ringwood town councillors have been told.

David Martin, sewerage planning manager for Wessex Water gave members an update on the proposed improvement scheme for Ringwood.

He said a scheme to make the sewers bigger and either providing additional storage at the pumping station or pumping more flow to the treatment works was set for 2015/16.

The work is intended to double the flow rate and to provide protection from a 30-year flood event.

However, a second stage, including a pumped overflow at the pumping station which would pump flow direct to the river in emergency situations, such as that faced last year, would need consent from the Environment Agency, which could take up to ten years.

Mr Martin also said Wessex Water had identified a damaged foul pipe, which was allowing surface water into the sewer.

This had now been repaired and had resulted in an immediate reduction in flow.

Members were pleased that some improvement had been made with the repair of the foul pipe. But they were concerned residents would be faced with another winter of flooding in the Bickerley area before the improvement scheme was implemented.

Mr Martin confirmed that Wessex Water would continue tankering sewage away, as they had the previous two years, if it was necessary. He said it would not be possible to bring the scheme forward.

There was also some concern about the impact development of the RING3 site might have on the sewerage infrastructure.

Mr Martin said he understood sewerage from the planned new homes would flow directly to the treatment works and not via the pumping|station.

Members agreed to lobby Desmond Swayne MP about the possible two-year wait for the second stage of works, to ensure it was given high priority.

The mayor thanked Mr Martin for the update and invited him to return in January, to update them again.

A visit to the pumping station and treatment works is being arranged for members.