Volunteer group Friends of Forest Waterways (FOFW) said they aren’t looking to play “a blame game” over the causes of recent severe flooding in Lydney as they outlined their plans to help tackle the issue.
Project leader Adrian Lane presented the group’s proposals at a meeting of some 75 people last Tuesday (February 8), during which he said the main cause of the flooding was the neglect of Lydney’s waterways.
FOFW came into being last year and have been researching the issue since August.
Mr Lane told the meeting that there has been no water management in place along all affected waterways, and that the River Lyd and Pidcock’s Canal have been allowed to fall into a state of dereliction.
He said Lydney Canal has lost its water holding capacity and is unable to release water efficiently into Severn Estuary, without human intervention.
He also explained how the Lyd has shrunk in size and Pidcock’s Canal is no longer an efficient holder or mover of water, due to loss of width and depth.
He said that water backing up in the river, canal and ground has nowhere to go but to back up into Lydney.
“We don’t claim to know all the answers,” Mr Lane told the meeting..
“We are not here to make it a blame game, we are looking for solutions we can all get together and put the right pressure on the right organisations who can put it right. As long as Lydney gets what Lydney needs, I don’t care.
“But we need to restore Lydney Canal to its original depth of 12 feet and original width where possible, and restore the River Lyd to its original depths and width.”
He said he would like to see the restoration of water management facilities and encouraged responsible organisations to explore “nature friendly” solutions.
County Councillor Alan Preest (Con, Lydney) said the group’s plan had given him “renewed confidence” that Lydney can make inroads into tackling the issue.
He also accused Lydney Town Council (LTC) of not working with the county or district councils to help victims of flooding, after pointing out that advice on LTC’s website says residents should contact Shropshire Council - which is 83 miles away - if they are affected.
He said of LTC: “They won’t work with us at Forest of Dean District Council and they won’t work with us at Gloucestershire County Council.”
Lydney Mayor Anne Harley was approached for comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service but declined, saying she needed to make enquiries before doing so.
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