'No time to lose' - Former head of army to chair Norfolk flooding taskforce
- Credit: Bill Smith
A new taskforce aiming to strengthen Norfolk’s resilience to flooding is to be chaired by former head of the British army Lord Dannatt, it has been revealed.
Norfolk has suffered from increased flood events in recent months, and calls for coordinated action have grown among residents.
With an independent figure guiding round-table discussions of the county and district councils, Anglian Water, the Environment Agency, internal drainage boards, and others, it is hoped greater collaboration between the authorities can be fostered.
Lord Dannatt, who will not be paid for the role, said: “Flooding and tidal surges are an increasing threat to the safety and prosperity of people in Norfolk in the coming years so the time is right to address these challenges vigorously.
“On that basis, I am more than happy to accept the invitation to chair the Norfolk Flooding Alliance and bring all interested parties together to develop a strategy for the future. There is no time to lose.”
Council leader Andrew Proctor said: “I’m very pleased that Lord Dannatt has agreed to chair the task force as his expertise will help forge the necessary coordination of the many parties with water management roles in Norfolk.”
“I look forward to the first meeting and for swift agreements and actions to follow.”
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Labour district councillor Harry Clarke, who has been pursuing flooding issues in Breckland, responded to the news: “It is very good to see somebody of Lord Dannatt’s huge stature in charge, although it's a pity that those at County Hall may not well be up to the jobs they were elected to perform.”
The county’s cabinet member for the environment, councillor Andy Grant said: “As the Lead Flood Authority it is important that we draw together agencies from across the county to jointly address issues and develop solutions.
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“As Cabinet Member I will be representing the county council on this body and ensuring that we develop a robust action plan to prevent and protect against future flooding.
He said Lord Dannatt’s “skillset and influence will be a great asset in driving this work forward.”
Lord Dannatt also serves as chair of the National Emergencies Trust, set up in the aftermath of the 2017 Grenfell tower fire and terrorist attacks in Manchester and London.
The taskforce will hold its first session on February 11.