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'We're doing everything we can.' Anglian Water defends response to West Norfolk flooding problems

Water company officials have insisted they are doing all they can to tackle flooding problems in West Norfolk after incidents were reported in several areas this week.

Anglian Water says the sheer volume of rain that has fallen over several months is the main reason for the crisis.

And it has also rejected claims that a lack of investment is a contributing factor.

Water!/Sewage! Leaking from a Drain Cover on the Junction of Plough Lane and Lynn Road Watlington. (44273456)
Water!/Sewage! Leaking from a Drain Cover on the Junction of Plough Lane and Lynn Road Watlington. (44273456)

A resident contacted the Lynn News this week to raise concerns about water and sewage leaking from a broken drain cover at the junction of Lynn Road and Plough Lane in Watlington.

The resident, who declined to be named, said the issue had been there for several days with no action being taken, despite it being reported to several agencies.

They included the office of local MP Liz Truss, who said both Anglian Water and West Norfolk Council had been made aware of the issue.

Residents in the Lynn area have also reported problems, while residents in Burnham Market and Brancaster Staithe - where sewage is reported to be flowing into the harbour - have also been badly affected.

But Anglian Water says the combination of what is thought to be one of the wettest Januarys in 100 years, together with 40 per cent more rainfall than normal during the last three months of 2020 is the reason for the current problems.

The firm said in a statement: “Sewers are simply not designed to carry this volume of water we’ve seen or take excess flows from overflowing rivers and streams in some areas.

“Much like Watlington and Burnham Market, instances like this are occurring all over the region and we’re doing our best to prioritise and provide support wherever we can.

“Drainage systems are complex and managed by a number of organisations including councils, private drainage companies, the Environment Agency and Anglian Water amongst others, and we’re working very closely with all of them.”

Yesterday, borough and county councillor Sandra Squire issued an open letter demanding a single body is given responsibility for flooding issues.

The company said staff were checking to make sure their pumping stations were working properly and efforts to pump water away from areas like Burnham were continuing.

Their spokesman added: “Our teams have been working tirelessly to tanker this area for days but in areas like Burnham Market, where the river Burn is in flood, we’re literally trying to tanker a river.”

This week, the company announced what it says is a record £630 million annual investment programme in its network.

The measures include plans to spend nearly £100 million on new mains and sewers, plus £6 million to protect homes from sewer flooding.

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