11:00AM, Thursday 27 March 2014
Waltham St Lawrence & Shurlock Row councillor Stuart Craig is angry that works to clear a culvert at the junction of Broadmoor Road and The Street have not been started.
With drainage unable to cope with heavy rainfall, sewage seeped into the culverts and flowed into The Street between December and March.
One home had six inches of sewage flowing through its floorboards.
Cllr Craig, who is the parish’s member for ditches, watercourses and allotments, says the sewage had ‘nowhere to go’ as the ditch was blocked up with debris.
The area has been identified as a potential habitat for a protected species of newts, so a survey must be carried out before the channel is cleared or updated.
In his desperation he emailed the Royal Borough claiming he had ‘poisoned’ the great crested newts.
He denies poisoning any creatures, saying he sent the email on Monday, March 17, to highlight that it is ‘stupid’ to put off work ‘because of a few newts.’
He said: “If there are any newts there they will have been poisoned by the toxic waste that’s come from the sewers.
“It’s common sense. If they’ve survived that they’ll survive cleaning out the culvert.”
The Royal Borough said in December that ‘major works’ to replace the culvert would be delayed because the survey is required.
Frustrated Cllr Craig, from Twyford Road, says cleaning the 20ft channel would make a ‘big difference’ in residents’ battle against flooding.
He is frustrated that Royal Borough has not started the work, adding that the parish council paid for ditches in Broadmoor Road and Twyford Road to be cleaned last year.
Without this, he says, flooding in The Street and Broadmoor Road would have been worse.
The Royal Borough said on Tuesday the great crested newt is protected by law so surveys are a legal requirement.
Natural England, which advises the Government on the natural environment, says newt surveys can only be carried out between February and October.