From flooded out Bernie Webster, victimised by LCC, United Utilities, WLBC and the Environment Agency, for living in Burscough.
“Further to my response to WLBC’s letter received by myself yesterday, 3rd Nov. As regards the meeting held on 14th September from which residents’ were excluded. It is noted that although the co-operation of Network Rail is absolutely essential to resolving flooding issues here, they did not attend.
“There was an explanation about issues raised relating to the Jacobs’ Report. As you will remember from the various responses to the points of concern raised by myself and Burscough Flood Group, WLBC and United Utilities took no responsibility and referred those points to the Lead Flood Authority to address, and then the Lead Flood Authority took 5 months to refer those very same concerns back to WLBC, United Utilities and the Environment Agency. Jacobs, an internationally renowned Company, declined to make any comment. No doubt they were too embarrassed to defend the Report. No one takes responsibility.
“It has been my intention to respond to the comments by LCC on this matter, but as LCC sited Covid as the reason for the 5 month delay, I hope you will give me similar latitude as I have been kept busy dealing with my home flooding over the past 3 months, 2 of the occasions inside the house with filthy water. I hope to address the LCC response soon.
“Though the meeting relates to Burscough as a whole, and more specifically Mill Lane/Ainscough Mill and Alexander Close, which I would like to come back to at a later date, I would like to focus on the Crabtree Lane area.
“There is mention of a “Simplified Plan” involving the interception and diversion of existing drains…not on Railway Land. Given that this is not to be on the Railway, then it must be on private ground. I am unaware of any discussion with residents about this matter and one would have thought it, first of all wise to discuss the possibilities with residents as well as being courteous. I have spoken with the occupants of 79 who have not been approached, 81 have no access through to the rear, I have not been approached by WLBC and any property north of my home is going to be on elevated ground, so would be less effective.
“I am certainly open to the possibility of a ‘Storm Drain” being located through my property, but WLBC have not sought to discuss this with me. Had they chosen to discuss this with residents, then they could have started the meeting with a much clearer picture of what their options are. They chose to exclude residents from discussions and so it is hardly surprising they went into a meeting with significantly less information, valuable and essential information, to hand.
“There is general consensus on runoff and soil erosion contributing to problems here. This flows on to the highway and overwhelms the gullies as they become blocked further down the system through various causes. It is my understanding that this is most probably the responsibility of LCC Highways to address. Can I ask what legislation or guidance is available to encourage landowners to reduce soil erosion and runoff, particularly when homes are threatened and it is believed to be a contributory cause to the drainage system failing. If there is legislation or guidance then when was this brought to the attention of the landowners concerned and what measures have been put in place to reduce future risk.
“I do hope it is not the case that the mere suggestion of an upstream solution to flooding will give Network Rail cause to believe that the recent repairs,
(which have actually reduced the capacity of the culvert) are sufficient to deal with the problems and their responsibilities here. I note that my neighbours on the opposite side of the line have been excluded from consideration in these discussions. Their home is still under threat as is the large area of grade 1 farmland adjacent to the railway. They are no less entitled to consideration than anyone else.
“I hope all the authorities can find the courtesy to keep the residents here fully appraised of progress or other developments so they may be at least given the opportunity to put forward possible solutions”.
Wishful thinking? Probably!