Posted by: westlancashirerecord | August 13, 2018

Burscough Flooding Group Is A Flood Action Group

In case LCC wants to know WHAT IS A FLOOD ACTION GROUP “A Flood Action Group is made up of a core of local people who act as a representative voice for their wider community. Groups are very much led by the community themselves. The National Flood Forum  simply gives them the tools to ensure their success and sustainability. It supports the group to work in partnership with the all the right professionals that are needed. “We work with communities to empower them to reduce their flood risk and be in control. I have no doubt that the best results happen when people in Flood Action Groups are listened to, their ideas are valued and their local expertise and knowledge is acted upon as part of a partnership approach to reducing flood risk. Flooding is a complex issue with lots of agencies and authorities each having a different role to play, which is confusing and frustrating for people. In our experience the best way of making things happen locally is by communities working in partnership with those who can make a difference such as local authorities, the Environment Agency and water companies”.

Who could argue that Burscough Flooding Group isn’t a “Flood Action Group” despite its formal  constitution in 2016? Only LCC, apparently, but it seems that even they have accepted it after some buck passing and jobsworthiness.

Gavin Rattray of the BFG wrote to LCC “Thank you for your letter to MP Rosie Cooper dated 21st May 2018, which I received today.

“As LCC now knows, Burscough Flooding Group’s relationship with LCC has changed radically for the better since the appalling meeting LCC and UU had with the public at Briars Hall. BFG were extremely pleased with the recent constructive meeting with the LCC team, during which we were told that it will be followed up by LCC arranging further meetings with us, including one with BFG, LCC and Jacobs in which BFG will liaise with Jacobs. The liaison with Jacobs will be to inform them of our local knowledge of the flooding issues in Burscough.

“In response to the second paragraph of LCC’s letter. BPC made it clear to us that LCC did not want us to attend that meeting and that is why we weren’t invited by BPC.

“In the third and fourth paragraph, LCC very strongly implies we weren’t a flood action group. BFG have always been a flood action group; we have always had a constitution and we have always met the definitions of flood action group within https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/working-together/communities/what-is-a-flood-action-group/. “We are also a member of the national flood forum having joined it shortly after we were constituted in 2016; and finally LCC met BFG shortly after we were constituted (no doubt as part of its duty to meet flood action groups).

“In order for us to continue to have our new transparent and honest working relationship, it is necessary for BFG and LCC to let bygones be bygones. However, we would like to make it clear that the issue we had with LCC was brought about because of its refusal to incorporate the information residents, BFG and BPC had all gathered into its S19 report following the 2015 Boxing Day flooding. BFG believe that decision set back the resolution of Burscough’s surface water flooding problems by at least two and 3/4 years.

“In addition, because the Environment Agency informed BFG in 2016 that the major cause of increased flooding in Burscough is development without sufficient investment in drainage. We know how vital documents such as the SFRA are in protecting areas like Burscough from surface water flooding and I urge LCC in its role as final approver of the SFRA to help Burscough by insisting that Burscough’s SFRA meets current best practice.

“For example, we know that LCC currently have no criteria against which it measures the quality of the SFRA and this allows WLBC to produce poor SFRAs with little specific details of problems. This enables developers to build without fully mitigating the flood risks and, given the inherent flooding problems here, it is no surprise that nearly every large development is known to have flooding problems which are contributing to the deeper downstream flooding problems in Orrel Lane, Crabtree Lane, New Lane and Martin Mere etc. For further information on LCC’s role in the SFRA, see the DEFRA document “Land use planning – Assessing the quality and influence of Strategic Flood Risk Assessments (SFRAs)”.

Having read all of that, the letter to Rosie Cooper in May 2018 from Mr Durnell , Head of Highways LCC states “Should Mr Rattray and the other members of the Burscough Flood Group like to work in a constructive and proactive way with Lancashire County Council and other organisations I strongly recommend they consider establishing a Flood Action Group for the community”. You couldn’t make it up!

 


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