When the authorities that are tasked with flood avoidance measures are negligent, nasty things happen in homes. Sewage invades, property is ruined, life is unpleasant, to put it mildly. But what is so appalling is the negligence is authorised by neglect of duty, or downright incompetence. We call it “Authorised Flooding”, by Lancashire County Council, by West Lancashire Borough Council, and by any statutory body liable under the Flood & Water Management Act 2010.
Lancashire County Council (LCC) as a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) has a duty to investigate flooding in accordance with Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. Section 19 states “On becoming aware of a flood in its area, a lead local flood authority must, to the extent that it considers it necessary or appropriate, investigate: a) Which risk management authorities have relevant flood risk management functions, and b) Whether each of those risk management authorities has exercised, or is proposing to exercise, those functions in response to the flood”. We know that in general there are no programmes for any Lancashire investments in up-scaling their drainage networks to provide additional capacity for rainfall events such as occurred in Burscough.
The recent flooding in Burscough, now a regular feature of our long time flooding reports, is portrayed in videos and seen by thousands of people, many who’ve suffered similarly.
One of the worst affected local residents decided “To write something about my flooding experience and it is difficult to narrow things down to something which people might be able to take on board. It is no exaggeration that I have over 1500 e-mails relating to flooding either written by myself or responses from others. Readers will have read plenty regarding the experience of others, about how it has devastated their lives, and yes for many it does. Please don’t even consider feeling sorry for me, I am in a very fortunate position of being able to carry on fighting to save the home I have built, mainly with my own hands, over the past 34 years.
He said “I love my home, and where I live, I will continue to fight to keep it and protect it. I have been flooded internally 4 times since 2008, yet there has never been a day when I have regretted living here, even when I have been standing knee deep in filthy stinking water. I would ask your reader to give consideration to those less fortunate than myself who have been spun the same lines from officials for years, they are too old and vulnerable to fight any longer, like my neighbours whose home was devastated in 2015. They used to open their garden for the National Garden Scheme and hundreds of people came to look at the amazing work they have done. They never recovered from the flood, and their once beautiful garden is now a jungle.
And he asked “Please give thought to the many thousands of people who had their homes trashed early this year in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, the Calder Valley and the Ribble Valley. The area was swarming with Politicians telling us all how they would not stop until the problems were put right. Well, have you heard anything in the news about their plight in the last 3 months? Most probably not, because once the cameras leave, the politicians leave. (Exception made for a few good eggs, Rosie Cooper is still fighting for me, thanks Rosie).
“Do you remember the flooding in the Somerset Levels in 2014, no politicians for a month, then Prince Charles turned up. The next day, you couldn’t move for politicians and council officials making promises.
And he said “I was under no illusions when I decided to become engaged with the Council Officials, I knew I would be given the P.O.P.S. Treatment, Prevarication, Obfuscation. Procrastination and Suppression. Council Officials are well versed in this, the higher up the ladder you go the more skilled they are in fobbing you off!
“I hope at some time in the future, I may be able to provide the evidence I have been gathering over the past 4+ years to those whose homes have been affected by flood. The evidence I have obtained myself, for which I have had no payment or expenses paid, will be free of charge for anyone who feels they have been wrongly treated. You will hopefully understand, because I am likely to be doing nothing else for the next 2 to 3 months other than repairing my home, that I won’t be in a position to do that just yet, but that is what I hope to be able to do to help those less fortunate than myself.
He described what happened “Last night after a gruelling day starting at 6.20am, dragging heavy carpets and rugs outside to wash off, a home owner from another part of Burscough came to me for help, he had seen the video’s I had put on line and told me he had his house flooded internally 3 times, he reported it to his county councillor but had got nowhere, I think the term “Chocolate Fireguard” may have been used. I have been in Burscough Flood Group, and as far as I know, the official records have not been made available to me to show these events properly recorded.
And “This is one of the main problems, for years, the authorities have been trying to “manage” the flooding records. There is a good reason for this. Firstly, if it is not recorded, then officially the problem does not exist and so they do not have to spend money and resources fixing the problem, but more importantly, when there is a planning application for development, the flooding records are looked at, and if your home having been flooded is not shown on their records because they hid the facts, (as happened to the record of my home being flooded in 2012) then there can be no objection to the application on grounds of flood risk.
“The Councils are financially in a mess, the best way of bringing in money is to promote development, and so it does not matter how well reasoned and justified your argument, you will not be allowed to stand between the authorities and the money they receive from development. You will be left scratching your head wondering as to how this could have been allowed. MONEY!
Imagine what happened when “I was visited this week following the videos I posted, again by our county councillor. I asked him not to come on to my property but he walked on to my driveway and told me “Someone close to him is also having problems with the Environment Agency”. This is just about as hard-faced as it is possible to be, but is typical of this person’s obvious, to me, lack of any moral standards.
“He blames others in order to protect his position when the next elections come. He has defied the public of Burscough in voting for much of the development which is only likely to threaten our homes with further flooding, because in order to make way for more sewage for the new homes, surface water will now be diverted into the already failed watercourses which play a major part in taking flood water away. It doesn’t matter to him, he doesn’t live in Burscough, he does not suffer the consequences of his voting in favour of building on our greenbelt.
And he tells us “So, to the readers, the officials expect you to give up complaining after 3 months, so all they have to do is make a suggestion they are going to do something in the future. If you persist, they may actually set things in motion, but they have an endless number of obstacles to put in the way of resolving your problem. It will involve setting up “Steering Groups, Funding Applications for Studies, Consultations with the Public, Surveys, Surface Water Management Plans, Accounts Committees”, the list is endless as it has been in Burscough for over 20 years. They have no intention of addressing the problems because it costs money, your money, my money, but their focus is on development because it brings in Money but does nothing to improve the quality of life for the residents who have less greenbelt to enjoy.
“So if you have a friend in any of the places mentioned, and they were promised their flooding would be put right, then encourage them to get back in touch with the media and highlight the fact that they were made promises which have been broken. Tell them to take pictures and videos to ensure the evidence is not lost and can be used to hold the authorities to account. If they are flooded, when you report the problem, ensure you ask for a reference number so it can’t be suppressed or hidden. They expect you to give up because it is hard, but defy them, don’t give up or you will lose”.
What he has described above is the life of a flood watcher, someone whose worst nightmare is the sound of teeming rain. It doesn’t happen to many people. It shouldn’t happen to one! But if and when it does, doesn’t it describe failure of those whose election to public office is a sham, not worthy of a single vote at election time?