Essex Highways staff and Essex County Council flooding officers are working on solutions to stop future problems on a road near Newport.

In early December, the B1383 London Road became impassable. Heavy rainfall on December 2 and 3 led to the River Cam flooding. Essex Police shut the road between Newport and Saffron Walden as river levels continued to rise.

Drains on the B1383 which discharge into the River Cam had nowhere to drain to, as the river was flooded, and they eventually backed up.

Essex County Council in December said motorists had removed police road closures signs, which also had an impact on the situation.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Ray GoodingRay Gooding (Image: Archant)

Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex county councillor for Stansted division, said: “What happened on the B1383 in early December was a chain of events, caused by very excessive rainfall, that led to the road flooding.

“Rainwater from the surrounding fields sought out the nearest low point, which is the road, carrying mud and topsoil from the neighbouring fields on to the road, which then clogged up the road drains.

“It has been suggested that the drains on this road were blocked before this event. At this stage this cannot be proven or disputed. Essex Highways has regularly cleaned out the drains along this stretch of road and had done so earlier in 2020. This flood was down to excessive rainfall, pure and simple.

“Now the problem has been identified, we must work toward a future solution, which stops mud and topsoil getting dragged on to the road, which in turn then clogs up the drains.

“Essex County Council flooding engineers are now developing innovative solutions to stop future flooding.

“As division member not only do I sincerely regret the varying information that circulated in the melee of dealing with the issue, but I seek to unite the powers of the local parish, district and county councils to get this issue resolved before we see such hugely excessive rainfall again.”

Once the rainwater subsided and the River Cam returned to normal levels, Essex Highways and Uttlesford District Council staff worked to get the B1383 reopened. One worker described it as ‘mountains of mud’.