UK's 'most-flooded road' breaks record after being submerged for 3 months

The road in Welney, Norfolk, has been under water for more than 12 weeks.

Pictures of the flooding on the A1101 road through Welney, Norfolk during the first week of March. (SWNS)
The flooded A1101 road in Welney, Norfolk, during the first week of March. (SWNS)

Britain's "most-flooded road" has set a new record after being submerged for more than 12 weeks.

The A1101 Welney Wash Road in Norfolk has been repeatedly closed due to flooding caused by a nearby river overflowing, leaving local residents frustrated.

Despite some sections of the road being submerged under almost 4ft (1.2 metres) of water, some people have still tried to cross the flooded area, including a lorry driver who recently had to be rescued after getting stuck in the water.

Now, after 87 days underwater, residents in the village of Welney say the flooding is forcing them to take a 22-mile diversion while also inflicting a heavy toll on local businesses.

Farmer Ken Goodger, 67, said the road never used to flood and has pleaded with Norfolk County Council to take action. He believes the title of Britain's most flooded road is deserved, but added: "I should imagine there are people who don't want that title – they would rather have a road to drive on. Our village pub struggles when the road's closed. It's the 87th day the road has officially been flooded. Before this, the maximum we were aware of was 85 days.

"Twenty years ago it didn't flood at all. The river overspills due to excessive rainfall. They flood the road because they have to wait for the water to go out to sea. It is supposed to flood, but in times of rainfall it causes issues."

The road has set a new record for flooding. (SWNS)
The road has set a new record for flooding. (SWNS)

Norfolk County Council said in a statement: "The fact is that the causes of flooding along Welney Wash Road are complex, and a full set of mitigation measures would cost as much as £58m. We're looking into how such work could be funded, including via government support, but sadly there are no quick fixes for this issue."

'Lovely tourist attraction'

Goodger said the floods had an economic as well as an environmental impact on the more than 4,000 drivers who normally use the road daily.

"A lady in the village works in Ely, and it costs her half a tank of petrol extra a week, so there's a cost to the people as well as the environment," he added.

Goodger and some other locals set-up the Wenley Flood Watch page on Facebook, keeping more than 13,000 followers updated about the floods. Other than raising the road, the farmer said this, combined with signage, is the best practice to stop drivers getting stranded.

He said: "We used to get a lot of stranded cars, but the word is getting out now. The Facebook page has been more successful than we ever thought. We have had years when there's only 40 days of flooding, but now 80 days isn't out of the ordinary. It's down to the high rainfall."

Goodger joked that the road would make a "lovely tourist attraction" if it were raised, as people could watch cars seemingly driving on water.

Road closures have frustrated locals. (SWNS)
Road closures have frustrated locals. (SWNS)

Why is Britain so prone to flooding?

According to the Red Cross, floods are the most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters to occur in the UK and overseas. However, many experts agree that flooding appears to be getting worse and could be attributed to climate change.

Earlier this week, the Climate Change Committee said adapting the country to cope with climate change impacts, from flooding to drought, must be reflected in every decision and given priority in government, and receive more public funding. It comes after the world experienced the hottest February on record, and the UK recorded its fourth wettest.

Globally, the last 12 months have breached, at least temporarily, the 1.5C threshold beyond which the worst impacts of climate change are expected.

In comments published via the Science Media Centre, Roger Falconer, professor of water and environmental engineering at Cardiff University, said he had been involved in flood modelling and resilience for around 40 years and in recent years flooding appears to have been getting worse, particularly in terms of rainfall intensity and more frequent flood events.

He said: "These changes in weather patterns would appear to be as predicted by climate meteorologists and those specialising in climate change. In modelling and planning for reducing flood risk then in my view, we need to study and manage the river basin as a whole, using a systems-based approach, from the upper catchments to the coast. Based on the assessment of climate specialists we can expect more extreme flood events in the future."

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