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Canterbury villages prepped for flooding as The Nailbourne flows through Barham

Flood barriers have been deployed after a river which has lain dormant for years began to flow.

Canterbury City Council has installed temporary barriers in Barham to block off the free-flowing Nailbourne.

South Barham Road has been closed
South Barham Road has been closed

Experts predict the usually dry river - which forms into the Little Stour before eventually reaching the River Stour - will continue to increase its water capacity throughout the winter.

South Barham Road is currently closed due to it becoming a waterway.

Due to the heavy rainfall in last autumn, council officials met with partner organisations last week to set up a plan to protect Canterbury's villages.

Pumps and sandbag stores have been readied, and flood wardens are being briefed.

A council statement says the villages will be prepared if The Nailbourne floods.

The Nailbourne heading towards The Causeway in Barham
The Nailbourne heading towards The Causeway in Barham

"At all times, organisations will continue to plan for the worst case scenario, but this does not necessarily constitute the most likely scenario," it says.

"While the majority of 2019 was relatively ‘normal’ in terms of recorded rainfall, the autumn was much wetter than the long term average. This has led to a rapid ‘recharge’ of the east Kent chalk aquifer. Groundwater levels are now high and will remain high for the remainder of this winter.

"It is likely that the Nailbourne and Little Stour river system will flow in its entirety this winter between Lyminge and Stourmouth.

"But this does not necessarily mean there will be flooding. At this time, we are expecting flow not flood.

"Whether flooding occurs, and if so to what extent, will be determined by rainfall patterns during January and February."

'Organisations will continue to plan for the worst case scenario' - Canterbury City Council

The Nailbourne started to flow through Barham on Sunday.

From Barham, the often-dry tributary makes its way to the lake at Bourne Park after passing Derringstone and Bishopsbourne.

It later becomes the Little Stour and carries on northwards before it merges into the River Stour at Plucks Gutter, near Sarre.

There are currently no formal alerts or warnings in place for groundwater or for river flows.

Any floods should be reported to the Environment Agency on 0800 807060.

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