Do-gooding dam builders pose flood risk, experts warn

Do-gooding amateur dam builders apparently worried about the effect of low water levels on wildlife risk flooding Lincolnshire homes, the Environment Agency has warned.

The mystery builders dubbed human “beavers” have been accused of “mass vandalism” by some after using sandbags and bricks to create a series of dams on the River Slea in Lincolnshire.

The Environment Agency has been forced to send in teams to dismantle the dams and make sure the river runs freely and does not flood.

Gary Robson, of the agency’s asset inspections and enforcement team, said: “We do not know who is building these dams. Rumours suggest it is a couple who are concerned about the low water level and the effect it has on ducks and fish”.

The water level in the river, a tributary of the River Witham, is sometimes low especially during dry spells but dams are not the solution, the agency says as Britain was battered by floods.

“Whilst we are sure they are doing this with the best of intentions, restricting the flow of a river or stream does increase the risk of flooding and is costly to remove,” said Mr Robson.

“There are also health and safety implications involved with the removal of a structure which is holding back a vast volume of water.”

The latest dam was built under a culvert at the end of Electric Station Road and West Banks Road in the town of Sleaford. It was holding back between 500mm and 700mm of water.

Agency workers also had to remove another one built from concrete-filled sandbags taken from a bank supporting a footpath. Four smaller dams have also been dismantled.

Some residents voiced anger at the dam builders.

One said: “Interfering environmentalist do-gooders. I bet they bring the sandbags and bricks in a 4×4 and without any sense of irony.

“Putting people’s homes at risk like that is mass vandalism, so let’s hope they get caught and jailed.”

The agency is urging those responsible to stop and has asked for help from the public to identify the culprits.

Police and agency officials are patrolling the area, anyone with information about the dams or river obstructions should call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 807060.

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