Taskforce sets up 'lifeline' phone line to report flooding in Norfolk

Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance TEMPESTAS exercise

Members of the Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance (NSFA) met at The Space venue in Sprowston on Monday to complete the TEMPESTAS exercise. General Lord Richard Dannatt can be seen on the main stage, centre. - Credit: Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service

A taskforce set up to combat flooding in Norfolk has held its first test run in anticipation of a challenging winter, with a new phone line set up for people to report problems.

At a Monday meeting of the Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance (NSFA), which consists of councils, Anglian Water, internal drainage boards and other agencies, members ran their first joint exercise, called TEMPESTAS, which simulated a major flooding incident. 

Members assessed their readiness, from the initial Met Office flood warning through to the recovery phase.

More than 100 areas across Norfolk were flooded last winter, and the alliance has identified the 16 areas most at risk - for which it has devised mitigation plans. 

The NSFA’s strategy document has now had the stamp of approval from all seven of Norfolk’s district councils and a phone line giving Norfolk residents one point of contact to report flooding has been established.

Lord Richard Dannatt.

Lord Richard Dannatt. - Credit: Lorentz Gullachsen

General Lord Richard Dannatt, Chair of the NSFA, said the new one stop phone number gives “a lifeline to residents who might otherwise feel abandoned”.

He said the TEMPESTAS exercise had been helpful, but added: “Local preparedness and planning is only part of what’s needed: We will also be making the case to the government that the [house] planning system needs to recognise the importance of ensuring that development does not exacerbate the risk of flooding, either to existing residents and businesses or new ones.

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“Addressing flooding and flood risk is something that needs coherent action from the parish level right up to the government.”

Andrew Proctor at a meeting of the Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance

Conservative county council leader Andrew Proctor, pictured on Monday, said the devolution of powers to Norfolk could feed into the alliance's efforts at preparing for flooding in the worst-hit parts of the county. - Credit: Noah Vickers/Local Democracy Reporting Service

Conservative county council leader Andrew Proctor said: “Money is a consideration obviously. 

“The county council’s already put money in last year and we’re doing so again, £1.5m a year - that’s not going to go very far, but it will be an annual contribution. 

“Some of the big stuff will require additional government funding - [with] the strength of the bodies here today as public and private organisations, then surely between us we can start to say to government and other agencies, the Environment Agency and so forth, 'let’s have some money to deal with this, because we know how to deal with it'."

In a reference to Norfolk potentially asking for more powers from central government, Mr Proctor added: “Maybe some of this plays into devolution and county deals.” 

In the event of flooding in Norfolk, call 0344 800 8013 or visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/flooding

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 

The worst-affected areas

The task force has identified 16 areas that are at high risk of flooding. 

These are:

  • Burgh Road/Beccles Rd, Gorleston
  • Ferry Road, Horning
  • A1101, Welney Wash
  • Necton
  • Burnham Market and North and South Creake
  • Tunstead
  • A140, Long Stratton
  • Norwich Road, Strumpshaw
  • Gayton
  • Watton/Saham Toney
  • Mattishall
  • A143 Redenhall
  • Yaxham
  • Kenninghall
  • Cranworth
  • Newport Rd/Yarmouth Rd, Hemsby

People living in the areas have previously welcomed the focus, including many who were hit by the bad flooding last Christmas.

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