WARWICKSHIRE is better protected against flooding than it has ever been.
County council chiefs say major changes have been made in the decade since severe flooding across the county in July 2007. Nearly 2,000 homes in Warwickshire were flooded, 60 roads closed, and 20 bridges damaged, and some £90million was paid out in insurance. Alcester, Bidford, Henley and Wellesbourne were worst affected, but Shipston, Leamington and Warwick felt the effects of the disastrous downpour too.
An independent inquiry ordered in the wake explored how floods were – and should be – managed.
Following this, Warwickshire County Council developed a new team dedicated to flood risk management.
Over the past ten years, the team has introduced a number of measures to better prepare the county for future flooding.
A Strategic Flood Forum, made up of organisations with a role in preventing or responding to flooding, meets quarterly to share information, and a Surface Water Managament Plan (SWMP) has identified areas where surface water flooding is most likely to happen. More than 40 properties in these areas are now better protected, and any blockages on roads and highways are cleared.
There are now also 15 Flood Action Groups across the county which meet to discuss new risks identified, as well as reviewing local planning applications to for flood issues. The Shipston group implemented natural flood management measures, which store or slow water during storms. Some £100,000 of Government funding was recently awarded to the group in recognition of their progress.
The county council has also given grants to local communities through its Small Scale Flood Alleviation Scheme. To date, 12 grants have been allocated, with money being spent on watercourse maintenance and property resilience.
County environment spokesman Coun Jeff Clarke said: “Most people will have some awareness of the devastation that flooding has caused in parts of the UK over the last decade.
“We want the public to know that over the last ten years we have put in place a huge amount of measures to mitigate the effects of flooding and, of course, to prevent flooding from occurring in the first place.”