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Council review aims to learn lessons from Somerset flood devastation

By WG_Yeovil  |  Posted: January 14, 2013

  • Residents in Martock dealing with the November floods

  • River Parrett floods in Langport last November

  • Flooded railway lines between Taunton and Westbury

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Councils from across Somerset are getting together to see what lessons can be learnt in the aftermath of some of the worst flooding the county has endured.

November and December saw homes, businesses, farmland, roads and railway lines flooded at the end of the second wettest year on record.

South Somerset District Council is leading the review and will work the other Somerset authorities who are hoping to learn what went well – as well as what could have been done better.

Initially a joint steering group, consisting of representatives from the local authorities, will meet to agree terms of reference and the best format for a bigger, one-day event that will include a wide range of organisations including the Environment Agency, the emergency services, farming groups, parish council and community representatives, local MPs and potentially a Government representative.

The one-day summit is being designed to cover a wide range of topics including the roles and responsibilities of agencies in relation to flood prevention and flood management.

Workshops are also planned looking at flood prevention, action during flooding and coping in the post-flood aftermath – cleaning up, compensation and the impact on communities and agriculture.

Councillor Ric Pallister, leader of South Somerset District Council, said: “This is an essential piece of work if we are to better prepare ourselves and our residents for future flooding incidents on the scale of the last few months.

"Everyone has a part to play from the National Farming Union and the Environment Agency to individual house owners and we must ensure that homes and businesses are protected to the best of our ability through a co-ordinated response.

“Flooding to homes causes untold misery and this joint scrutiny approach will enable us to evaluate experience from 2012, share good practice and identify what could be done better. Somerset speaking and acting as one will help to ensure that our voice is heard where it matters the most.”

The authorities are keen to hear first-hand from those who experienced flooding or from people who have views and ideas they would like to share – just email flooding@southsomerset.gov.uk.

SOMERSET FLOOD DAMAGE IN 2012

Flood damage in Somerset, November 2012

Flood damage in Somerset, September 2012

Flood damage in Somerset, July 2012

Flood damage in Somerset, April 2012

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