The Hillmans Cottages Management Company and residents of Hillmans Cottages, Ongar Road, Abridge are indebted to the Environment Agency for arranging emergency measures to protect their properties last weekend.

Following the wettest January on record and in particular following torrential sustained periods of rain last week, the River Roding at Abridge peaked at 2.59 metres on Saturday 1st February 2014. This would without doubt have lead to internal flooding had it not been for the deployment of these emergency measures.

On Thursday 30th January, Lambourne Parish Council’s Flood Warden Councillor Charles Portou on behalf of the residents of Hillmans Cottages alerted The Environment Agency that water was close to converging into their gardens. Pre-empting that the River Roding would rise to levels that could affect the properties, the Environment Agency early next morning built a large sand bag wall that effectively plugged the gap in their unfinished defences at the rear of Hillmans Cottages. They also deployed high capacity pumps to pump out water that was threatening to flood their property.

Councillor Charles Portou said “It was most impressive the way the Environment Agency’s Operations team, admirably lead by team leader Steve Quartermaine built the sand bag wall to effectively plug the gap in the unfinished defences last Friday morning and deployed the pumps in record time to prevent a disaster. It was like a military operation with every man working flat out and it was also reassuring that a task force including personnel from Epping Forest District Council’s Land Drainage Department kept vigilance throughout the small hours over the weekend. The help of all parties involved was greatly appreciated and was a fantastic team effort.”

“Yes, it did take this near disaster for them to realise, but the residents of Hillmans Cottages are now 100% convinced that when completed, the Flood Alleviation Scheme will offer excellent protection, so hats off to the EA’s designers and project team too”.

The residents are most appreciative of these exceptional efforts to prevent flooding. They have suffered enough and cannot wait for the weather to improve to enable the contractors to finish the works that have been put on hold due to the inclement weather and thus bring to an end their nightmare and 13 year campaign to have flood defences!

The Environment Agency has confirmed that whilst weather conditions remain unsettled, they will continue to monitor the levels on a daily basis and the pumps will remain onsite.


6th February 2014