Flooding support more important than ever
Recent flooding in the county has highlighted the importance of Gloucestershire County Council’s ongoing work to help alleviate flooding in the county.
Flooding at the end of last year and more recently is a reminder that improving the resilience of the county to flooding continues to be a priority with extreme weather events expected to come around more frequently in the future.
The county council is the lead local flood authority in Gloucestershire; this is an investigation and recovery role bringing together an extended team of partners including the council’s highways team, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, district councils, and the water and sewerage companies.
An example of this work is that very soon after the Christmas flooding the county council coordinated a series of multi-agency debrief sessions to compare facts and identify lessons learnt.
This valuable information will be factored into a report on the Christmas floods which will be discussed at the council’s Environment Scrutiny Committee in March. As well as looking at what happened the report will include the immediate lessons learnt, the value of working together with our partners and some next steps.
The Government is currently calling for evidence through Defra’s consultation on ‘Local factors in managing flood and coastal erosion risk and property flood resilience’. The consultation ends on 29 March.
The county council will be contributing as part of the River Severn Partnership, but responses from individuals and our communities would greatly assist to make sure that the views of Gloucestershire residents are known. Communities are just as an essential part of the extended team as the councils and agencies involved, and will only become more so.
The county council also funds an extensive programme of works to alleviate flooding in the worst hit communities across the county with the council committing a minimum of £2.1m each year on flood alleviation, gully emptying and highway drainage work.
This work can be illustrated by the council’s response to last June’s surface water flooding in Nailsworth where a number of town centre properties and businesses were flooded.
Since then the council has been working with its partners and the local community to look at what happened and come up with a number of potential flood alleviation measures including sustainable drainage systems, holding water back upstream, early warning systems, and a CCTV survey of the town centre drainage to reduce future flood risk in the town.
The county council is also at the heart of the county’s response to the climate emergency and is committed to playing its part in global carbon reduction following a motion on climate change, which was unanimously supported at the council meeting in May 2019.
Last year the county council signed up to a new UK100 pledge which moves the target for Gloucestershire to become a carbon neutral county from 2050 to 2045, recognising the global urgency for tackling climate change.
The council also publishes an essential flood guide which contains all you need to know about how to prepare for, react to and recover from flooding. You can also report any past or present property flooding via our Flood Online Reporting Tool here or highway flooding here.
Councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways and flood said: “As a victim myself of the 2007 floods in the county, I know that flooding is such a big worry for so many of our residents and communities and it can produce heart-breaking consequences when it happens, but even the threat of flooding can be very stressful.
“The floods at the end of last year were another unwelcome example, but I’m determined that lessons will continue to be learned so I’m pleased that we have responded so rapidly by taking a report to our Environment Scrutiny Committee next month.
“We will continue to invest and take action alongside our partners and with our communities to reduce the risk of future flooding in our county.”