Discovery of Iron Age wooden posts won’t delay flood defences says Environment Agency

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The Environment Agency has played down fears work on Horncastle’s multi-million pound flood defence scheme could be held up after the discovery of Iron Age timber posts.

Officials from the Agency confirmed the posts had been unearthed soon after preparation work started.

They have called in archaeologists but stress work on the long-awaited £8.9m project is still continuing.

Deborah Campbell, coastal manager with the Environment Agency, said: “One of the planning conditions for the Horncastle flood storage reservoir is to carry out archaeological investigations.

“During this work, archaeologists have found timber posts – believed to date from the Iron Age – which may have been used to reduce erosion along the old riverbanks.

“We appreciate the need to preserve historically-important finds, and we and our project partners also recognise the importance of this scheme in reducing flood risk to people and property in Horncastle.

“We are working closely with the County Council’s archaeologist to agree what further investigations are needed while we continue work on the construction of the reservoir.”

The Hemingby-based site will feature a huge embankment and ‘holding reservoirs’ that should ease flooding worries for hundreds of people living in 
Horncastle - and in villages further down the Bain Valley.

Campaigners have been waiting almost 30 years for the project to start, and it is 
hoped the defences could be in place from winter 2016.

Resident Paul Roberts 
said: “These defences can’t come quick enough. Our home has flooded three times and every time it rains heavily, you worry.

“We’d been told they’d found Roman pots but it appears that’s not the case. Mind you, Iron Age posts could still present a problem. I just hope the work goes ahead.”

Planning permission for the scheme was secured earlier this year but the Agency confirmed it has not yet reached an agreement with landowners.

Ms Campbell added: “We are still in negotiations with landowners so that compensation and other agreements can be reached as soon as possible.

“Meanwhile, we are able to access the site through our powers under the Water 
Resources Act, which is enabling us to begin construction of the flood storage reservoir.”

The EA could use compulsory purchase powers to secure the land, but 
sources have described that as a ‘last resort’.