Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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LOW risk of flooding as weather set to break – Advice on precautions and action

by Ian Shires on 13 July, 2018

I have just received this information from Walsall Council

After reviewing the Met Office forecast for this weekend it suggests that minor surface water flooding impacts are probable across parts of England and Wales today (Friday) and possible but not expected on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

It should be noted that the Met Office have advised that the overall flood risk is LOW.

We are aware of some on-going anxiety in the community concerning the recent floods and the potential for further flooding given the recent (and prolonged) warm weather.  With this in mind, I wanted to provide you with the information below which may assist should you be asked questions by residents.

Walsall Council as Highway Authority

As highway authority the cleansing and maintenance of highway gullies is the responsibility of the Council.  In many areas these gullies utilise the sewers owned and maintained by Severn Trent Water.  Experience to date has shown that the gullies are largely operational during times of flood but that the main Severn Trent Water system and water courses (which our gullies link into) cannot manage the demand.

Upon receipt of weather warnings the Council ensures that its highway teams are geared up and ready to respond in known problem areas; this includes:

  • Checking that gully grids are clear of debris;
  • Clear affected watercourses;
  • Clean affected road gullies;
  • Distribute sandbags as required and have additional bags and sand in store for replenishment;
  • Have a duty driver on standby equipped with temporary road closure signs and additional sandbags;

Additionally, as a follow up operation, if we do suffer from heavy rain we have the gulley crew prepared to cleanse any gullies that may get silted up with run off from agricultural land or similar.

For general advice and information about road drainage and flooding see here and you can check the status of cleansing records of the gullies in your area here.

The latest information on flooding is available from the Environment Agency’s Floodline service: 0345 988 1188 or here

The following advice has previously been provided to you but is provided again for completeness.

In an Emergency:

If there is immediate danger, contact the emergency services by dialling 999.   Only call for emergency assistance if there is a risk to life or a risk of serious property/environmental damage. During a flood, the emergency services may be very busy.

Main River Flooding

Main rivers are usually larger rivers and streams. The Environment Agency carries out maintenance, improvement or construction work on main rivers to manage flood risk.

Walsall Council as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) carry out flood risk management work on ordinary watercourses. (More detail of our duties is outlined at the bottom of this email)

Call Environment Agency03708 506506. This can also be used to report blocked watercourses, before flooding has occurred.

Flooding from sewers or burst water mains

Contact the appropriate company for your area (note: South Staffs Water does not operate sewers; only water supply)

 In your home:

  • Clear drains to allow surface water to escape and prevent it reaching your home
  • Turn off the gas, water and electricity supply to your home before flooding. This should make the services easier to reinstate once floodwater has dropped.
  • Put plugs into sinks and baths and weigh them down to prevent water coming up drains and into your property. If you have other flood protection equipment such as a seal for use in toilets, install this.
  • If safe to do so move valuables upstairs. If you are sheltering in your property, ensure there is a means of escape.
  • Do not let children play in flood water. The water can be unsafe and it can also become contaminated with raw sewage and chemicals.

Outside

  • Monitor weather reports on local television or radio news channels or via the Met Office  to ensure you have the latest information.
  • Do not use towpaths as you may be unable to see where the main channel and towpath meet.
  • Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water can sweep you off your feet.
  • Floodwater may lead to be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels – these can cause serious injuries or even death.
  • Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary.

 Motorists

Eighty per cent of flood deaths occur in vehicles. Motorists should not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or you may become stranded.

With water utility companies around the country advising that flood water may contain sewage, there is also the chance that driving through it you will spread this sewage onto your car and further into flooded streets.

Flooding from highway drainage, surface water, groundwater or watercourses that are not main rivers (as above)

Contact Walsall Council on 01922 650000.

Role of Walsall Council as Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA)

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Walsall Council as a Unitary Authority is a Lead Local Flood Authority and the Strategic leader for flood risk matters in Walsall to include:

  • Developing and implementing a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy  .
  • Ensuring that all organisations involved in flood risk management are aware of their responsibilities.
  • Monitoring progress and activity by all parties involved in flood risk management.
  • Coordinating communication, both with the public and between organisations.
  • Preparing reports and plans to meet the requirements of the Flood Risk Regulations 2009.
  • Carrying out flood investigations where appropriate and publishing reports.
  • Keeping an asset register of structures and features which may have a significant effect on local flood risk.
  • Designation of Third Party Assets where appropriate.
  • Regulation of Ordinary Watercourses, including permissive powers to require landowners to maintain ordinary watercourses on their land / property.
  • Providing technical advice to Local Planning Authorities on surface water drainage strategies for major developments.

We also have permissive powers which allow us to carry out works to manage flood risk from surface water and groundwater.

More advice On Flooding and Insurance

Further information for advice on what to do before, during or after can be found on the Environment Agency’s website

The National Flood Forum are a Registered Charity to help, support and represent people at risk of flooding and can provide specific flood advice including insurance related enquiries. They can be contacted at 01299 403 055.

 

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