Flood and Water Management Act: Significant Flood Investigation: August 22nd to September 2nd 2015
The Committee considered the report of the Head of Environment and Regulation updating on the findings of the Flood and Water Management Act, Section 19 Flood investigation which covered the flood events from 22nd
August 2015 to 2nd September 2015.
Instigated by internal damage to properties, AECOM were commissioned to undertake a Section 19 investigation and report. The commission was split into four key tasks
Task 1 – Review of Flood Events
Task 2 – Identify Flooding locations, Types and Causes of Flooding
Task 3 – Review of Flood Risk Management Agencies’ Actions
Task 4 – Recommendations for Action
The Head of Corporate and Community Safety introduced the report and detailed the findings of the Section 19 Report.
In response to Members questions, the Head of Corporate and Community Safety indicated that officers were now working on the recommendations and an action plan and this would be driven through the established Wirral Operational Flood Forum.
In response to a Members’ question, The Head of Corporate and Community Safety indicated since the unprecedented flooding which has occurred in 2015, officers were working and planning for any reoccurrence of flooding incidents, sandbags or the equivalent have been issued to affected residents, and work was being undertaken with the Met Office on improved weather warning tools so that early warning can be issued to residents and preparation work can be put in place. Further in-depth engineering work is also being carried out to ensure that flood damage is kept to a minimum.
Officers would also be bidding for funding from the Environment Agency as and when they became available.
A Member raised concern regarding the flooding incidents that had occurred in Bebington, these had been reported by both Ward Councillors and residents but had not been included within the report and nothing had been done to assist residents. She commented that despite meeting the criteria the incidents had not been included within the report, therefore, not been considered for funding. She further indicated that local residents had been given no help and had even provided their own sandbags; some residents had been provided with metal strips but due their disability had been unable to use them but were not offered an alternative.
In response, the Head of Corporate and Community Safety indicated that all reports received were being investigated and if they met the criteria they would be considered for funding. He clarified that the incidents referred to had been captured within the report, but he would clarify this with the Ward Members in writing.
In relation to the flooding incident at Arrowe Brook, a Member indicated that this had been largely due to a dam which had been installed by the Environment Agency not being regularly maintained and was now blocked. Issues had been raised as to who was responsible for maintaining the area but given that the area and nearby properties were separated by a fence then it would be the responsibility of the Environment Agency as they had maintained it previously and asked that the Committee requests that the Environment Agency continue to maintain and undertake clearance of the area as they had done so in the past.
In response, the Head of Corporate and Community Safety commented that he would again investigate the issues raised by Members and assured Members that these concerns had been raised during recent operations meeting, details of which could be shared with the Committee if it wished. He further assured Members that in relation to community engagement, officers were working with the Environment Agency to ensure effective management of flood risk and enhance community engagement.
For those areas highlighted within the report that met the criteria due to internal flooding but were not considered for funding, officers had made representations these were followed up but were refused. The Leader of the Council had announced at a recent Cabinet meeting that he would be approaching the Environment Agency for additional funding.
As detailed within the report there was a greater need to improve communication with residents. A Member indicated that given the lack of resources given to the Council, officers needed to work with to encourage them to help themselves and keep up the momentum.
It was highlighted that following the recent flooding incidents, a drop in service was held for residents offering advice and guidance and support, also officers had given a presentation to affected Constituency Committees. Support and awareness raising was ongoing.
At the conclusion of the debate the Chair suggested that the Committee requests the Leader of the Council to write to the Government requesting that the Council be reconsidered for inclusion in the Flood Scheme; he further suggested that a standing panel be set up to monitor the implementation of the recommendations contained within the report and the Action Plan of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and ensure Wirral Council and its partners are best placed to respond effectively to future significant flood events.
(1) the Leader of the Council be requested to write to the Government requesting that the Council be reconsidered for inclusion in the Flood Scheme; and
(2) a standing panel be set up to monitor the implementation of the recommendations contained within the report and the Action Plan of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and ensure Wirral Council and its partners are best placed to respond effectively to future significant flood events.
- Overview Scrutiny Committee Environment - Section 19 Flood Investigation v2, item 4. PDF 156 KB
- O&S Environment Apprendix 1 Wirral_S19 September 2016, item 4. PDF 10 MB