District Council set to commit to combat flooding

Posted on: Tuesday, February 13, 2024

With weather warnings issued up and down the UK, it was a close call this weekend as to what impact this may have on our communities across the district. Thankfully, Newark and Sherwood was relatively unscathed…this time. But sadly, we always know there will be a next time. A motion pledging to do everything possible to reduce the impact of local flooding will be presented tonight at Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Full Council meeting. Councillor Paul Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community Relations, will put the motion forward, encouraging fellow Councillors to vote for its adoption and cement a promise that the District Council will do all it can to help minimise the catastrophic consequences seen in recent floods.

Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity and Environmental Services, at Newark and Sherwood District Council, will second the motion which will see the District Council committing to the creation of a flood alleviation scheme with a further commitment to ensure it does all it can to ensure the bodies responsible for funding the scheme do so and bring it to fruition.

The motion presented will be as follows:

“Newark and Sherwood District has seen occurrences of three severe weather events over recent months. This has resulted in both serious flooding in locations that have a track record of flooding as well as new locations.

“Understandably, the people of Newark and Sherwood are angry and concerned about the number of times their homes, communities and livelihoods have been impacted.

“The consequences of these flooding incidents have seen homes repeatedly flooded and damaged, businesses and farmland flooded, roads closed, and residents’ mental health impacted.

“These types of flooding incidents have been described as once in 100-year events. However, with the impacts of climate change escalating, we know flooding is harder to forecast and will become more commonplace.

“As water levels start to reduce, there is a danger that there will be a perception that Newark and Sherwood District Council is returning to business as usual.  However, we can assure residents that this is not the case.

“We cannot just go back to business as usual. We do not accept the level of pain and suffering so many of our residents across Newark and Sherwood have been through. Our thinking and future actions need to show an understanding that some degree of adaptation needs to be considered in relation to the impacts of Climate Change.

“We know that many people and businesses are still suffering from the impacts of the recent flooding, with their homes and lives devastated. For some, this is likely to be an ongoing issue for many months. Even after homes have dried out and been refurbished, many will be living with the fear that it will happen again. We cannot see these individuals abandoned.

“As a District Council we wish to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of so many people during the floods. The staff of this District Council who worked tirelessly, putting in long hours over and above their normal working hours to support residents.

“We would like to thank all the Community Flood Wardens for all their expertise and hard work. Members of the emergency services, Police and Fire Brigade. We would also like to acknowledge the work of organisations who have statutory responsibility around flooding: Nottinghamshire County Council as the Flood Authority, the Environment Agency, and the Internal Drainage Boards along with the water authorities. Our communities would have suffered even more had it not been for the efforts of volunteers and neighbours helping one another, along with our many community groups. We also want to thank supermarkets who donated provisions for those isolated.

“As a District Council, we held a debrief session with our partners and volunteers as just outlined to learn the lessons from their perspective and we will continue to learn lessons as we further engage with our communities.

“The District Council now proposes that, in order to move forward, we must bring together local authorities and other agencies with a responsibility for flood alleviation across the Trent Valley to explore ways of addressing the continued threat of flooding. This will include a proposal to jointly commission a River Trent Valley Flood Alleviation Plan.

“The plan should capitalise on the benefits of finding natural solutions, including restoring wetlands and floodplains, tree planting schemes, the creation of reed beds, and dedicated dredging.

“Flood alleviation is the responsibility of Central Government, Environment Agency, Nottinghamshire County Council (Flood Authority), Seven Trent Water and the Internal Drainage Boards. Other local Authorities the length of the River Trent also have a key role to play.

“Ultimately, we will need Government support in order to implement any flood alleviation plan.

“Therefore tonight, the District Council resolves to work tirelessly with those authorities with statutory responsibilities and with other stakeholders to ensure the creation of a flood alleviation plan for the Trent Valley. This District Council will then lobby Government for the resources to be made available to implement the plan as soon as possible.”

The meeting of the District Council’s Full Council meeting will be live streamed, with a meeting link available on its website.