CDC assesses progress on local resilience in the wake of recent flooding

"The Council supports the Environment Agency stance that property owners within flood risk areas should make their own preparations in advance"

Following the recent flooding in parts of the district, Cotswold District Council has been assessing the resilience of communities and has noted several improvements that have been made since the 2007 floods.

Since that date, the Council had urged communities to identify community places of safety which can be established quickly during an emergency, and there are now 75 in the district to supplement designated CDC rest centres. In addition, working with CDC, 17 Town and Parish Councils have now developed and published community emergency plans, and more are anticipated. CDC officers have also provided communities with advice about how to protect against flooding and how to safeguard their properties, and have encouraged residents to sign up to the Environment Agency’s flood warning information service.

While noting that progress has been made, the Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr David Fowles, emphasised that whilst a lot of work has already been done, there is much more to do:

“Nobody is pretending that the threat of flooding will ever go away, even when all our priority flood defences are completed in the district. The more that residents can do to help themselves, with the assistance of CDC and other agencies when required, the better they will be able to withstand a problem of this nature.”

Cllr Fowles was aware that some residents had queried the supply of sandbags and clarified the situation from CDC’s position:
“The Council supports the Environment Agency stance that property owners within flood risk areas should make their own preparations in advance. In other words, we will not supply sandbags to protect individual properties, but we will continue to retain small stocks for strategic deployment at our discretion in the event of flooding emergencies. This stock of sandbags was used recently to help contain the River Churn in Cirencester.

“The fact is that sandbags offer very little real protection in a severe flood and there are significant logistical problems involved in distributing them across such a large and rural district covering 450 square miles particularly when the area is flooding . This was demonstrated during the 2007 floods when some towns and villages became cut off and it was not possible for CDC officers to deliver sandbags safely. Consequently, Gloucestershire County Council offered free sandbags to communities to store in the event of an emergency – records show that half a dozen Town and Parish Councils in the district took up this offer while a further five were given flood resilience funding to purchase their own.”

Posted: 11/12/2012 20:30:51

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