Sir Gavin Williamson accompanied Councillor Phillip Leason on a visit to the Scotch Brook culvert near Stone, which had received complaints about the build-up of waste and subsequent effects on the environment.
The culvert in question connects to the river Trent and regularly fills up with silt, already prone to overflowing in the case of torrential rain. It costs the Environment Agency around £100,000 every 18 to 24 months to remove the silt and debris. However, Sir Gavin and Councillor Leason were asked to visit the culvert to see that not only was the culvert blocked with silt and debris, but vast amounts of rubbish and plastic. Sir Gavin met with one of the volunteers who helped to litter-pick the area but found that more help was needed to restore the culvert to peak performance.
The culvert, which resembles a dumping ground, has caused concerns for environmental degradation as the waste poses an environmental hazard. As well as this, the blocked culvert could actually lead to real problems for townspeople. In 1987 the same culvert, blocked by rubbish, collapsed and the river flooded Stone town centre, leaving cars and houses under water.
Sir Gavin urged pro-active measures be taken to prevent this from happening again, calling on the Environment Agency to clear the stream and encouraging locals to help out with litter picking. Sir Gavin was pleased that his appeal for action resulted in success, as the Environment Agency rapidly cleared the blocked culvert and the surrounding debris, which is now fit for purpose again.
Sir Gavin said: “I’m happy to announce that pushing for the authorities to be pro-active in dealing with the blocked culvert at Scotch Brook was successful. It is crucial that we think ahead with such issues. If I and others had not acted, we could have been in danger of repeating the floods of 1987, which were caused by waste build-up and resulted in damage to the environment and to the local town. It can also be incredibly dangerous. I’d like to thank the Environmental Agency for responding quickly to my call to keep the people of Stone safe.”