Report into Norfolk Christmas floods could take six months

Heavy rain caused flooding in Long Stratton

Flooding in Long Stratton. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

The report into the flooding which hit Norfolk last month could take six months to be finished, with council officers still getting further calls about incidents to add to the 150 so far.

Heavy rain on December 23 led to Norfolk County Council getting more than 200 calls over the 48 hours up to Christmas Day.

It prompted Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service to declare a "major incident", with major flooding in parts of South Norfolk and Thetford.

Officers are still getting reports from people who were affected and have been conducting site visits to assess the impact of the flooding and the cause.

Due to the large number of reports and time needed for carrying out site visits, officers say it will take up to six months to publish the official flood investigation report.

With Storm Christoph forecast to cause more issues, the council is battling to get emergency repairs done to the network and to work with other agencies and private land owners to get existing drainage systems cleared.

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Officers are also trying to get repairs done to the highway network, with some road surfaces badly damaged by the flood water and freeze-thaw action amid fluctuating temperatures.

Karl Rands, highways services manager at Norfolk County Council, said: "It's been a very demanding period since well before Christmas, with the flooding and the snow at the weekend.

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"The primary challenge is that most of our drainage systems are gravity-led systems. Water has to flow somewhere, so it goes to ditches and watercourses and, if they fail, then the system cannot discharge."

The council's response to the floods will come under the spotlight at a meeting of the authority's scrutiny committee next week - as will coronavirus and the council's finances.

Steve Morphew, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk County Council scrutiny chairman Steve Morphew. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Scrutiny chairman Steve Morphew, said: “While still making sure we keep abreast of the county response to the pandemic, we need to keep on top of other crucial issues for Norfolk, too.

“The recent damaging flooding and the prospects for council finances fall within that category. There are many questions residents would like us to ask.”

People can submit questions to the committee via up until 5pm on Friday, January 22.

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