A community flood action group is a tried, tested and effective way of tackling issues that the community has in the area, apparently.
In recent years Lancashire has been subject to both flood and fire. Events that used to be described as 1 in 100 year events to many residents now seem to be regular events. But the Lancashire County Council flood management system is beset with ineptitude, muddle, and deception, as seen through the eyes of community flood action groups.
We are advised “Through these grassroots groups, communities are able to have a voice as to the future flood risk of their community through consultation, and as one group wrote “It feels so empowering to have formed our own flood action group with you and to be taking firm positive steps forward”.
Unless, that is, you live in Burscough and your flood risk management is the responsibility of Lancashire County Council. This article in no way seeks to demean the flood risk management of LCC, it manages to do that on its own behalf far better than any outsider could.
Following the introduction of the Flood and Water Management Act Lancashire County Council has been designated as a Lead Local Flood Authority. The county council is now responsible for managing flood risk from all local sources; surface water, ground water and ordinary watercourse. As part of its role as a Lead Local Flood Authority, “Lancashire County Council is required to produce a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy which explains how we will manage local flood risk in our area”. to that end a LCC Flood Risk Manager wrote
“Dear FLAGS and friends, I attended a meeting in Whalley yesterday with members of the local Flood Action Group, which brought it home to me (again) what a powerful impact the FLAGs in Lancashire can have during and after floods. The support you give to your communities and neighbours at these times is priceless. You will find targeted information and advice on the North West Flood Hub which may be of use.
“The following message may also be of interest, particularly if any communities at risk of flooding could use extra help from their local Neighbourhood Watch groups. Please continue to encourage flooded people to report their property details (homes, businesses, land etc) if they haven’t already, to a drainage authority such as the water company, city/district council or to Lancashire County Council by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone during working hours to 0300-123-6780. Without their details, we don’t have evidence of the scale and impact of the recent floods and we may all miss out on government grants to assist in recovery and for resilience measures to reduce the impact of future flooding events.
“My team is grateful for any reports from the Flood Action Groups too, as these will often give us a commentary that helps define the flooding mechanisms”.
And another from the same Flood Risk manager “Dear FLAGS and friends, I’m sure today’s regional weather forecast from the Met Office regional advisor (below) will be welcomed as we all have other important issues to consider at the moment. If any community group needs help through the coronavirus crisis, for example to offer resources or to receive special attention from public services, you will find advice on our website here: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/your-health-and-wellbeing/coronavirus/
“The county council’s flood risk management team is still working on our normal business through the crisis. Team members are now all working from home around their individual domestic complications including nosy pets, lively children and/or other adults also trying to deliver their own work from home.
“Our normal meetings and site visits are currently suspended as we avoid making journeys by car and public transport. However we are achieving more desk-work including progressing various reports and written communications, and we are well-equipped with telephone/video conferencing facilities which are in use most days.
“You are still welcome to send in reports relating to recent flooding incidents to our support team by email to email@example.com , and we will continue to respond as quickly as possible”.
You may well wonder at the use of some phraseology above, such as them being sent to “friends”, not a word seen as appertaining to Burscough and the Burscough Flood group, which we will study in upcoming articles.