Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 22, 2016

Burscough Flooding Group

Report For Bursough Parish News Letter December 2016. bursgroup

Burscough Flooding Group, a small residents team working and liaising with Burscough Parish Council bpc (BPC) have since June 2016 been accumulating statements, photographs and historical data to ensure that Lancashire County Council’s (LCC’s) flood data records for our area are correct. The data held at County Hall was found to be totally incorrect and would seem to suggest that there were NO issues in relation to flooding in this area. Lancashire County Council is now the lead agency in relation to flooding.

The discrepancies in incidents reported and those which actually took place are considerable; hence this under recording which paints our flooding problems in a totally different light for somebody sitting in their head office some considerable distance away.

Burscough has grown far beyond the capacity of its sewage system originally laid down in the late 19th century, the foul and surface water sewers and watercourses which were designed for a rural farming community are now running at a rate far in excess of their designed capacity and frankly cannot cope with the number of properties that we have now. Let alone the proposed construction of maybe 1,000 more dwellings and more industrial units. The original designers had incorporated pumping stations to the original plans to alleviate the problems which they foresaw to help with the flow of water and to stop the water table from rising and this worked up until the massive increases to the system of the new developments.

The plan to switch off these pumping stations is still on course despite the problems already highlighted and there are no plans at this time to change this decision. New Lane Sewage Works which suffers from external flooding that contaminates New Lane village and local fields requires major redevelopment and a watercourse serving half the current units for Burscough terminates in a small outfall culvert running under the railway and canal at Crabtree Railway Crossing causing internal flooding to the adjacent properties on a regular basis with the extremely stressful situation that delivers to the residents. The field adjacent to Orrell Lane is highly susceptible to flooding and is constantly waterlogged.

This can only get worse to the detriment of the surrounding houses and those further up the system unless United Utilities  commences a major infrastructure programme of the whole system which they have no plans to do so. Our group has met with representatives from LCC in October and been in regular contact with West Lancashire Borough Council (WLBC) and United Utilities to share our findings. It has not been easy to get information from the relevant authorities and on occasions we have usually had to get this using the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act but still find that we are sometimes denied FOI information by LCC and UU. We also produced numerous photographs of the outcomes after a period of rain of the extensive flooding.

At our meeting with the County Council in October we spelt out in no uncertain terms the problems Burscough was having and could expect in the future if nothing is done and the response was that their small team was investigating over 229 incidents throughout the county and that they need time to cost the problem zones and decide on priorities, meaning that no corrective measures could take place inside the next three years! This is scandalous.

Touching briefly on Yew Tree Farm these are historical statements obtained through Freedom of Information Requests underlining the fact that you could hardly pick a worse development site.

a) We have discovered evidence from our research by our members that the British Geological Society have since 1970 been monitoring the water levels at a Borehole on YTF and found that the water levels had been stable for a number of years. However since 2000 the water levels have been rising at an alarming rate. This has never been quoted in any aspect of the development of YTF. The rising water level is not disputed and the cause is open to debate however we have been informed that this excess of water will take up valuable space in an already overburdened drainage and water system when heavy rain occurs and we are already seeing the results of this.
b) On the 4th January 2010 WLBC were quoted as saying “Burscough Yew Tree Farm will only be developed when the council are satisfied that problems existing with infrastructure are resolved”.
c) Following a long and protracted freedom of information effort, by MP Rosie Cooper Burscough Flooding Group obtained an e-mail from United Utilities to WLBC which contained the following comments “Given the scale of the development and the well known capacity issues within the sewer network and wastewater works any proposals for growth would be objected to strongly on the grounds of capacity”.
d) On the 13th January 2013 in a letter from WLBC Solicitors were the following comments “any development of the site may actually improve the infrastructure solution in Burscough at the very least will not be allowed to make it worse”.

It is obvious from the comments above that the problems of under capacity in the systems in place and the real potential problems of flooding have been known about by the various agencies’ for some time. What is apparent is that there needs to be Major Infrastructure Work carried out by United Utilities before any further development takes place. This could run into many millions of Pounds.

Other Problems Highlighted
The existing sewers as outlined above are the main problems but the lack of routine maintenance to road gullies throughout the main roads and estates does not help. A survey prior to autumn leaf fall of 76 gullies in the Village established that 33% required attention of some kind.

Over the forthcoming months will residents please assist us by reporting any flooding whatsoever in our Parish to United Utilities and ourselves, especially internal flooding.

Email BFG:
Telephone BPC and leave a message for BFG on: 01704-895297
BFG can be contacted by email to send reports dates places and photographs. Also look at and report any specific gulley problems in your locality to LCC and ourselves. Our research work and probing decisions taken by officers in various authorities is ongoing.

Unfortunately we are not an action group but a pressure group but we will be presenting regular reports to BPC about our findings as well as informing the relevant bodies including the MP.

This needs to be co-ordinated in each area of the Parish by a separate body. If help is not forthcoming from the Emergency Services, self help guidelines are however available on the National forum web
National forum telephone: 01299-403055
Thank you for reading this update on a problem that affects all of us, we must make our voices heard and going forward a UNITED BURSCOUGH will get things done.


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