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Review of preparations for ‘devastating’ flooding needed, say councillors

PUBLISHED: 16:00 02 March 2020

Flooding on Velda Close in Lowestoft during the torrential rain in October 2019. Picture: Michael Howes

Flooding on Velda Close in Lowestoft during the torrential rain in October 2019. Picture: Michael Howes

Michael Howes

Preparations for the “huge and devastating” impact of flooding need to be independently looked at to ensure the county council is able to keep people safe, says a group of opposition councillors.

Norfolk County Council has a flood risk plan to ensure it can react efficiently to any incidents.

But the leader of the Liberal Democrat group has highlighted the "threat of climate change" and demanded an urgent review of the council's funding levels for dealing with disastrous flooding.

The council have said a review of its flood policies is underway and will be completed this year.

Ed Maxfield, Lib Dem group leader, said: "The flood risk plan is five years old - a lot has changed in that time. We've had five years of house building and cuts to local government spending. We need to be sure there is enough money in the pot to tackle the problem."

READ MORE: How to protect your home from flooding in Norfolk

He added: "With every passing day we become more aware of the threat of climate change and sometimes it feels like Norfolk is right on the front line.

"Emergency services, council workers and communities coped brilliantly with the tidal surge that hit our coast in 2013 but would we now be able to cope with river flooding in the same way?"

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Mr Maxfield said 14,000 homes in the county were at risk of "huge and devastating" impact.

He said: "40pc of businesses closed by flooding never re-open."

He called for the council to ensure it had funds to carry out the flood plan, replace EU funding after Brexit and inform people about flood insurance, and to use up-to-date data and technology.

READ MORE: 'The NDR coastal road': Maps give stark warning over flooding risk for Norfolk and Suffolk

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: "We promised a review of the policies in our local flood Risk management strategy and we have been doing exactly that, but next we need to consult with relevant organisations.

"Flood management is not something a single council can deliver, and our work has to include our partners at district level, Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and more."

He added: "We regularly update our guidance, procedures and work programmes, updating predictions and learning lessons from elsewhere in the country to make sure Norfolk is prepared.

"Our residents can have confidence that we are ready to respond to flooding swiftly, effectively and professionally."

The final review will go before the infrastructure and development committee this year.

READ MORE: Flood alerts in place across Norfolk

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