RIVER experts have moved to reassure residents amid fears fallen trees would cause a rising river to flood.

The River Blackwater, which meanders around several villages rose sharply after a dead tree fell across the width of the water.

Water spilled over the banks near the Brockwell Meadows, on Brockwell Lane at around 1pm on Thursday December 28 as the blockage combined with weather conditions led to an uncomfortable few hours for those living near the banks.

Kelvedon riverside property owner Henry Ryan, speaking while the water continued to rise, said: “The water has risen two feet more than it should be in the past six hours.

“There are a couple of trees down at the railway bridge in Station Road, Kelvedon, and the water is backing up.

“I spoke to a friend who said there was a small amount of water which completely flooded the footpath on Brockwell Meadows.

“I don’t know whether this may lead to more flooding down the line if the tree is not removed soon.”

Mike Pilbeam, a Kelvedon river warden with the Environment Agency, blamed the rise on the winter weather and dismissed claims the trees were increasing the problems.

He said: “The river is particularly high this time of year because of the ice and snow we had yesterday, which melts and produces a run off into the water.

“This is why the river is high and this is not that unusual this time of year, it is not because of the tree.

"However, in the event of a flood, Brockwell Meadows will act as a flood plain.

“These meadows make sure the river is prepared for a flood and to make sure bigger floods do not develop.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "Rises in river levels seen in Essex are in keeping with recent rainfall.

"Our staff are out and about checking rivers for blockages and we will issue flood alerts if required.

"There are currently no flood alerts in place in Essex.”

Kelvedon Parish Council chairman Craig Martin explained the meadow is council owned land.

He said: “The river itself lies on the boundary between Kelvedon and Feering and goes through both towns.

“The river is situated on the border line between the two and Brockwell Meadows is in Kelvedon.

“The River Blackwater as a whole passes through Braintree, Witham, Coggeshall and Maldon before going through Heybridge and into the Thames Estuary.

“The villages of Coggeshall, Kelvedon and Feering suffered severe flooding damage after the river flooded in 2001, 2012 and 2014.

“But the parish and district councils have plans in place to prevent flooding.” The level is being monitored.