Agenda item

Presentation - Flood Investigation Report

To receive a presentation from Neil Thomas, Highways Assets, Wirral Council


The Committee considered a presentation introduced by Mr M Camborne, Head of Corporate & Community Safety, led by Ms R Goodhall, AECOM.


Mr M Camborne indicated that in relation to incidents reported, Birkenhead had not suffered as much as other areas and the majority of incidents were primarily surface water/road flooding. He highlighted the excellent response received from the Environment Agency and the Fire & Rescue Service. He reported that since the latest bout of flooding, officers had worked alongside Sefton Council to jointly procure a large quantity of ‘Flood Sacks’ (modern sandbags) which would be distributed to flood affected properties with a stock kept by the Council for future use.


The Council had applied to the Environment Agency for funding via its Local Flood Levy Fund; if successful this funding would be used to deploy specialist surveyors out to flood affected properties to see what could be done to protect them and provide additional advice and guidance to residents as appropriate.


In response to a Member, Neil Thomas, Team leader, Highways Assets indicated that the flooding that had occurred in the area of the North Cheshire Trading Estate had been caused by the amount of water in the Prenton Brook and the surface water.


A Member suggested that a designated floodline be set up, staffed with immediate effect upon any reports of such incidents, Mr Camborne in response indicated that it was evident that given the amount of calls previously received the Council’s call centre could not cope with the amount of the calls received in the event of an incident of this scale. He explained that in conjunction with the Environment Agency and in the event of further flooding incidents; all calls received would be diverted to the Environment Agency via the Council’s own phone lines.


The presentation updated Members on the findings of the Flood and Water Management Act, Section 19 Flood investigation which covered the flood events from 22August 2015 to 2 September 2015.


Members were advised that a significant amount of data had been collected through consultation with multiple organisations, stakeholders and members of the public. Members were then informed that the data was used to identify ‘hotspots’, where clusters of reports could indicate a common problem or flooding mechanism for example: main river flooding, sewer blockages or capacity issues, surface water ponding; and, combined flooding mechanisms. Maps were provided to demonstrate hotspots in Wirral.


The Flood Risk Consultant set out key these identified as follows:


·  Limited warning

·  Rapid onset of flooding over a very large area

·  Information about the scale and severity of the flooding was slow to reach key decision makers

·  Lines of communication with the public were challenged

·  The authority response was impacted by the gradual exchange of information and limited resources.


Members were informed that the Section 19 Flood Investigation made multiple recommendations, including:


·  Developing a Multi- Agency Severe Weather Plan for Wirral

·  Developing integrated catchment models

·  Developing information capture and rapid sharing capability

·  Promoting and fostering community resilience to repeat events through the provision of resources and partnership working with local communities.


Ms Goodhall stressed the importance of community resilience and highlighted the details of the flood survey.


Ms Goodhall concluded, indicating that the Section 19 Flood Investigation had made recommendations to improve communications and resilience of the communities at risk. She also informed that a full report is available on the Wirral Council website.


Mr Barry Cropper and Mr Peter Talboys from United Utilities as representatives of the other Risk Management Authorities referred to in the report were in attendance at the meeting and answered a series of questions from members of the public.


Members expressed concerns surrounding the River Fender and Prenton Brook. It was explained that United Utilities had looked into this and in relation to Prenton Brook this would be maintained in future. 




That the contents of the report be noted and officers be thanked for their attendance.