Every year winter brings high rainfall and increased risk of flooding.
Flooding across the UK last winter was the most extreme on record, with ‘Storm Desmond’ alone leaving over 5,000 homes in Cumbria and Lancashire flooded.
Closer to home, the village of Lea was badly flooded in 2014, and I vividly recall working with residents, the Council and Welsh Water to clear foul water across the village and devise means to combat future flooding.
The Government is working hard to prepare for such emergencies over the coming months, and I thought Gazette readers might appreciate an update, as well as guidance on what to do if a flood strikes.
Nationally, the current flood defence and preparedness capital investment programme for 2015/16 to 2020/21 totals £2.5 billion. And the Prime Minister has also taken extra steps to ensure that people are kept safe from flooding over the winter by placing three battalions of up to 1,200 soldiers on 24-hour standby to help if necessary.
But government can only do so much. So what should you do if you are flooded, or think you may be at risk?
In general, the Gov.uk website has a wealth of information, including maps of at-risk areas, how to prepare and get help, how to report a flood and flood recovery. The emergency Floodline number is 0345 988 1188.
Locally, Herefordshire Council is now a Lead Local Flood Authority and has the lead role in managing flood risk in the county. Its website sets out what steps you can take to protect your property at https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/floods, and you can keep up to date with weather warnings at https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/.
Finally, if you or someone you know have been hit by power cuts, the special emergency number to call is 105.
Take care—and stay safe.