‘There is no need to dredge the Douglas’

Wigan's flood defence scheme at work, Coppull Lane, Wigan
Wigan's flood defence scheme at work, Coppull Lane, Wigan

WIGAN may have escaped the worst of the floods so far, but residents can still expect some rotten weather in the days to come.

Over the last week, the country has been hit by heavy rainfall, with meteorologists describing it “biblical” and the worst in more than 200 years.

The South has borne the brunt with devastating consequences.

The Thames burst its banks and hundreds of homes have been swamped with water.

The Government has been working closely with the Environment Agency to minimise the damage while there have been recriminations that local rivers should have been dredged months ago to avoid this trouble.

But according to Wigan eco-expert, such action here would not make much difference and would be a waste of resources.

As we went to press no weather or flood warnings had been issued for the borough, but the council and other agencies are on stand-by.

Mark Champion, Wigan projects manager for Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “Dredging would have a short term gain.

“Dredging the Douglas would not make that much difference to Wigan because we do not get that much fall and it is very difficult to get the levels moving around.

“We need to look at longer term solutions and how to protect the Wigan community from flooding.

“In the short term we have got quite a good drainage in Wigan.

“I don’t know what it would be like if we got the same rainfall in the south of England.”

Mr Champion added that individual members of the community all have a roll in maintaining the flood plains by not creating hard concrete services.

He said: “If we increase the amount of hard landscaping, and reduce the amount of soft ground to absorb the water, it makes flooding worse.

“We need to avoid building on flood plains.”