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Ringwood still under water
6:00pm Wednesday 5th December 2012 in New Forest News
PARTS of Ringwood are still under water, and with more rain on the way, residents are calling on Hampshire County Council to take action.
Residents say the flooding is some of the most severe in recent memory, however the Environment Agency said the river will not breach the town’s flood defences.
The wettest summer on record has led to high ground water levels and more rain means the water has nowhere to drain.
On Monday parts of several lanes in Bisterne were still under a foot of water, surface water on the Bickerley had still not drained away and the water meadows resembled a lake, where the River Avon burst its banks.
But several residents blamed Hampshire County Council for the high water levels, claiming that maintenance and drainage was being neglected.
Last weekend, staff from the council worked to deal with flooded roads and were pumping water from Kingsbury’s Lane in Ringwood.
Resident Keith Stewart said: “The lanes near the Avon Valley are still under water yet it has not rained for four days. I meet many dog walkers in this area and people are saying it is the worst it has been for a great many years.
Kingsbury's Lane was particularly hard hit but residents say the drains were blocked with fallen leaves, which has exacerbated the flooding problems.”
Mel Kendal, Hampshire County Council’s deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport ,said: “Highways drainage systems are regularly inspected and cleared as necessary.
“This includes the drains in Kingsbury’s Lane, which have been cleared using water jets as part of our regular maintenance programme. It is important to realise that there are a number of factors that need to be taken into account in the case of the drainage situation here, and not least of these is the extremely heavy rainfall that was persistent over a five-day, consecutive period.
“Wind speeds were particularly high last Thursday night causing extensive leaf fall which was then washed into the drains by the persistent, heavy downpours.
“Kingsbury’s Lane is in close proximity to the River Avon which means the capacity of the drainage system is affected by the level of the river, which rose to unusually high levels at the weekend.
“Highways crews were working continuously from the early hours of Sunday morning to clear the excess surface water from the lane.
“Until the water levels drop sufficiently, however, we are unable to carry out a full technical investigation.
“Following completion of the investigation, and in liaison with the Environment Agency and Wessex Water, we will determine what remedial action or improvements are necessary and programme this accordingly.”