THE UK’s ENVIRONMENT Agency (EA) has reported that £70,000 worth of repair work has begun on the Leigh flood barrier in Kent, following extreme weather events in the country during the winter months of 2000.

The radial gates and control structure have been repaired and repainted to help increase the life of the 20-year-old barrier, which was used a record-breaking 13 times following heavy rainfall during the winter.

‘The average number of times that we would expect to use the barrier in any winter would be about twice,’ said Richard Francis, flood defence manager for the EA. ‘Although work was programmed in this summer for the barrier, this obviously meant that we had to do more extensive work than we had originally planned. For example, the radial gates had to be heat treated and straightened after heavy trees went under them during the storms, bending the gates.’ Cathodic protection has also been put on the gates and work on the stilling basin is planned to begin in September 2001.

Funding for the rehabilitation work comes from a flood defence levy, which is levied via the local authority community charge.