‘There’s something in the water’. The Reasons: Community Stories and the Fens
As part of a project funded by AHRC entitled Connected Communities, Loughborough University organised an evening of local storytelling at the Ramsey Rural Museum on the 7th of June. The evening included poetry, song and narratives presented as stories of connections to water, given by selected people with direct interest in water and the fens. The Middle Level Commissioners (MLC) are a partner organisation for the Bevills Leam catchment and David Thomas, Chief Engineer of the MLC presented on the work of the Commissioners over the centuries.
Below is a link to a short video of the evening's highlights:
It has a great year for breeding kingfishers in the Middle Level Area. Below is a press release on the biodiversity targets achieved by the Drainage Boards of the Middle Level IDB BAP Partnership over the last five years.
St Germans School pupils enjoy Pumping Station visit
As part of the St Germans primary school visit a competition was held over which children asked the best questions. The prizes were Amazon gift vouchers. For the category of most challenging question the winning question was ... “How many buttons are there in the station?” and for
best overall question the winner was ... “why is the station here?”
Fireflies class from St Germans Primary visit the pumping station. Middle Level Commissioners Chief Engineer Dave Thomas shows the pupils round.
Pupils from the St Germans Primary School enjoyed a tour of the village’s pumping station on Tuesday.
Youngsters in the Fireflies class, aged between five and seven, are pictured above during the visit, in which they learned about how the station works.
Class teacher Rachael Moore said: “It was good to give the children first-hand experience of our village, which they’ve learned a lot about now. They found it really informative”.
The station uses cutting edge equipment to help protect the area from flood risk.
“They were particularly taken with the grabbers”, Mrs Moore said.
BSS ALERT BOATERS TO 6KG CALOR LITE® CYLINDER PRODUCT RECALL - BSS NR 14-007
The BSS has issued a media release and placed information on our website supporting the Calor Gas Ltd and alerting boaters to Calor’s immediate product recall on all 6kg Calor Lite® cylinders manufactured between 2008 - 2011 inclusively. The actions follow concerns regarding the potential deterioration of the cylinder. The link below gives further information:
The facilities at March Town Bridge service block have now reopened. This facility is maintained by and remains the responsibility of Fenland District Council on 01354 654321.
Interest in the New St Germans Pumping Station remains high with one of the most recent groups to visit the station travelling from Italy.
The Consorzio di Bonifica Veneto Orientale provide similar services to those of the Middle Level Commissioners and associates Boards in the Veneto region of Italy near Venice.
St Germans Pumping Station wins Awards
On the 8th May 2012 the new St Germans Pumping Station won the Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Mayor’s award for ‘Design in the Environment – Commercial New Build’ and also received the overall ‘Gold Award’ as competition winner topping approximately fifty entries in numerous classes.
Click on the link below to view the results on the Borough Council's website (opens a new window).
In aid of Sport Relief five members of staff from the Middle Level Commissioners took a break from managing water levels within the heart of the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire Fens to run 3 miles to raise money for charity. The Middle Level Runners, Deb Watts, Kate Pollard, Carly Harrison, Jon Fenn and David Thomas, set a target to raise £200 for Sport Relief but doubled that amount by raising over £400. Everyone completed the 3 miles (some much faster than others!) and many thanks to all those who sponsored the team or individuals. It is still possible to donate to Sport Relief by visiting the following page https://my.sportrelief.com/sponsor/middlelevel.
Activity recorded in MLC otter holts
Unique views of otters and other wildlife are being recorded inside holts (otter dens) that have been constructed by Middle Level Commissioners (MLC). As a major initiative to benefit otters, MLC and many of the Drainage Boards that are part of the Middle Level Biodiversity Partnership have constructed 65 holts in the banks of the drains and rivers throughout their 120 miles of waterways. The holts have in-built infra red video cameras to monitor visits.
The largest flood risk management pumping station in the UK has officially been opened at St German’s.
The £38m flood defence facility protects 26,000 properties and 100,000 people, as well as high grade agricultural land over a vast area.
The project, which took four years to complete, replaces a station built in 1934 which is currently being demolished.
The new modern, glass-fronted station boasts six concrete volute pumps which can lift up to 100 tonnes of water per second. This is the equivalent of emptying an Olympic swimming pool in 25 seconds.
The Commissioners were very pleased that Lord James Russell, brother of the Duke of Bedford, accepted their invitation to officially open the new station by revealing a plaque and starting a pump. His ancestor the Earl of Bedford was instrumental in the original scheme to drain the fens in the 17th century so his choice was seen as fitting.
Chairman of the Middle Level Commissioners, Stephen Whittome, said: “The Commissioners are delighted with this state-of-the-art, efficient and effective station – the outcome of many years of planning and hard work.”
Chief Engineer, David Thomas, said: “The station’s design is dramatic without dominating the surroundings. In planning the scheme, we also considered the foot print we left behind so all waste materials have been used in landscaping or where possible recycled and new shrubs and trees will be planted to increase biodiversity.
This has been a project of a lifetime and we are confident it will run for the next 100 years".
St Germans Pumping Station Formal Opening Brochure (2.12mb pdf)
The Middle Level Commissioners, partner of The Great Fen Project, are pleased to announce that this project is the winner of the Rural Areas and the Natural Environment category in the RTPI Planning Awards 2010. This visionary Project aims to transform an area of mainly arable land into a wetland site, providing for wildlife and also allowing access for education, recreation and allowing a new area for flood-water retention.
The Middle Level Commissioners, who operate the area’s flood protection and water management system and manage the navigable waterways of the Middle Level area, are one of five partners in the Great Fen Project.
The Great Fen Project – a habitat restoration project to create over 9,000 acres (3,700 hectares) of fenland – covers a large segment of the Middle Level.
As the Project progresses and more land is restored to fenland habitat, it will seek to enhance flood protection by increasing flood storage areas within the Great Fen. This will compliment the Middle Level Commissioners’ work to further protect land and property in the area.
As a partner, the Middle Level Commissioners believe that the management of water will be key to the projects success and have assisted with advice during preparation of the Master Plan.
Biodiversity Awards for Middle Level IDBs
The Middle Level IDB Partnership have been awarded two prizes in a Biodiversity Competition run by the Association of Drainage Authorities and Natural England.
The Partnership were awarded first prize in the large scale biodiversity initiative for the Otter Holts project under which 34 Otter Holts are being installed in the Middle Level system under the direction of Environmental Officer, Cliff Carson. The runners-up prize was also awarded in the small scale initiative for Mr Carson’s initiative to create kingfisher nest site opportunities by creating small holes in piling and similar apparatus.