Monday, January 08, 2007

Is the Relief Channel set for rebirth..?

Could a £19m package of flood defence works restore the Great Ouse Relief Channel to its former glories..?

That's the question predator anglers are asking tonight with the news Denver Sluice, on the Great Ouse near Downham Market, is set to be refurbished.

For many years, water from the Ouse has been run off via the Relief Channel and many fear harsh flows through the almost ruler-straight 11 mile channel have swept whole year classes of fish out to sea.

EA surveys have shown dwindling populations of pike and zander in the channel, which was a mecca for both species in the 1970s.

Repairing the sluice would mean water could be allowed down the tidal river again, leaving the Relief Channel to recover and only be run off in extreme conditions to alleviate flooding.

Officials plan to dam off the sluice gates so they can check whether they need replacing and whether modifications can be carried out to scour silt around the doors when they are open.