Friday, 10 January 2014

County Council consults on plans to combat future flooding

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council have launched a new plan aimed at reducing the risk of floods causing damage to property or threat to life in the future.

A special event about the proposals will take place at Lancaster Library in early February.

The councils have been designated Lead Local Flood Authorities after the government introduced changes to the way flood risk is managed following widespread flooding across the UK in the summer of 2007.

They have a new role to coordinate activities by councils, water companies, the Environment Agency, communities and other partners to improve the way flood risk is managed in future and want to know what people think of the plan during a consultation period which starts today (Friday 10th January).

A vital element of the plan is a proposal to ensure communities at high risk are better-equipped to protect themselves and their properties when floods occur.

The Lancashire Local Flood Risk Management Strategy explains the nature of flood risk across the county, who is responsible for managing the various types of flooding, and outlines proposals for further work to improve understanding of the causes, as well as specific objectives and measures to reduce the risk.

"One of the lessons learned following the major floods of recent years was that management of risk can only be improved if the many organisations and individuals which have an influence on this complex area of work share responsibility and coordinate their activities," commented County Councillor Janice Hanson, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for public protection.

"Flooding can happen for a number of reasons, whether its drains, sewers or sea defences becoming overwhelmed during a storm,! rivers bursting, pumps shutting down, or groundwater levels rising over a prolonged wet spell.

"Equally, Lancashire has a diverse geography, from coastal communities to those in steep-sided valleys, which means the level of risk and methods needed to manage flooding vary considerably.

"This plan explains how we will work with our partners to better understand what causes flooding in places which have historically experienced problems so we can take action to manage the risk in future.

"A vital element is the need for those at high risk to have a say in how people in their community can best prepare themselves for the possibility of flooding and increase their capacity to bounce back if the worst happens."

Councillor Fred Jackson, cabinet member for urban regeneration at Blackpool Council, said: "As a Lead Local Flood Authority it is our responsibility to work with partners to understand the causes of flooding and ! improve flood risk management.

"The new strategy will help us take the correct action to manage flooding in the future. Being prepared will enable us to better protect our communities and will help reduce the risk of damage to our resident’s properties, local businesses and infrastructure.

"We are encouraging people to let us know what they think of the strategy either online or at one of the consultation events so we can ensure it takes into consideration the needs of those in high risk areas."

Other key features of the plan include an overview of how improvements could be resourced and funded, how flooding will be taken into account by councils when deciding planning applications for future development, and how a new register will be developed of environmental features and assets which need to be maintained to manage flood risk.

• A six week consultation on the plan starts on Friday 10 January and ends on 21 February. You can view and comment on the plan at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay.

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council, along with the Environment Agency will be hosting a series of events for people to discuss flooding issues and find out more about the plan, as follows:

• Burnley Library – Monday 13 January 11am - 7pm
• Ormskirk Parish Church – Friday 17 January 12pm - 7pm
• Bacup Library – Monday 20 January 11am - 7pm
• County Hall, Preston – Wednesday 22 January 11am - 7pm
• Central Library, Blackpool – Monday 27 January 11am - 7pm
• Fleetwood Library – Tuesday 28 January 11am - 7pm
• Lancaster Library – Wednesday 5 February 12.30pm - 7pm

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