Alison Thomas says must be introduced to prevent future disasters in following adoption of Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance
The councillor for Long Stratton has warned that “time is of the essence” for officials to put in place measures to prevent future disasters – after an official flooding strategy was adopted this week.
On Monday, the Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance (NSFA) formally adopted a strategy to bring together all agencies and partners involved in planning for and responding to flooding across the county.
Cllr Alison Thomas – who was forced to move out of her own home in Long Stratton for months after it was flooded last Christmas – welcomed the strategy, but warned it would count for nothing unless it results in real action being taken.
“I think it’s great that we have got all the movers and shakers in one place talking together,” she said.
“Part of the problem with flood management is there are so many organisations with such a small amount of responsibility, so getting everyone in the room together is a major achievement in itself.
“But what is important now is the work people see on the ground.
“We need some of the issues we saw in December dealt with before the winter starts.”
The Alliance’s Strategy includes an Action Plan identifying issues members are taking to address the risk of flooding on individual sites across Norfolk.
Cllr Thomas highlighted a ditch in Welford Court, which needed to be cleared to prevent future floods like those that occurred last Christmas.
“It was overwhelmed in December,” said the Conservative councillor.
“We need action to get the riparian owners to clear that so the water can run from it, because otherwise the water will back up on to the roads.
“I have raised this a number of times, and it’s still massively overgrown.
“It’s about land owners getting the strategic direction. That’s what residents need, and what we should expect.
“Time is of the essence – we don’t want to be in the same place we were in last winter.”
Over recent weeks all of the members of the NSFA have ratified the strategy, before it was made public on Monday.
General Lord Richard Dannatt, Chair of the NSFA, said: “This strategy shows the hard work that’s gone into the NSFA’s mission since it was founded earlier this year.
“It puts us in a strong position to continue pushing for the investment and the joined up thinking needed to tackle flood risk in our county.
“The aim is to ensure the people of Norfolk have confidence that flood risks are as low as reasonably practicable and will be well managed.”
He also warned that new developments, like the thousands of homes set to be built in Long Stratton as part of the Greater Norwich Local Plan, do not undermine the work of the NSFA.
He said: “Local preparedness and planning is only part of what’s needed: we will also be making the case to the government that the 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.
“Addressing flooding and flood risk is something that needs coherent action from the parish level right up to the government.”