A report commissioned to see what lessons could be learned after flooding was reported in South Holland just before Christmas has ruled ‘there’s room for improvement’.
The district plus South Kesteven was particularly badly hit on December 23 by what the report to Lincolnshire County Council’s Flood Scrutiny Committee called a “unexpectedly severe surface water incident.”
A total of 52.8mm of rain fell in Spalding over a nearly ten-hour period which saw 12 emergency response requests issued in south Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue attend 70 incidents, 40 of which were internal flooding of homes and businesses.
Despite this the flooding was not deemed worthy of a ‘multi-agency response’ and was dealt with locally the report states.
That’s despite some organisations classing the incidents as ‘risk to life’.
The report says: “There is a need to ensure that consistent language is being used between partner organisations to help ensure a common understanding of appropriate level of response.”
Other issues raised include “a lack of clarity between partners on respective roles and resource availability in the event of an incident that falls below the well-rehearsed multi-agency emergency situation” and difficulties in communications between Emergency Planning and Highways which was put down to “short term technical issues” due to people working from home.
In response the organisations are looking to trial a local response partnership for those incidents not requiring a multi-agency response.
David Hickman, the county council’s head of environment, told the meeting:
“There was certainly room for improvement in the way we prepare for flooding incidents that go beyond the forecast.
“We have put in place stronger arrangements to prepare in advance of these events and to gear up the arrangements between partners of the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum.”
Mr Hickman also said the county council was looking at improving how many sandbags it can hand out and publicise other flood prevention matters such as waterbags to those whose properties are frequently under the threat of flooding.
Coun Chistine Lawton said: “We did suffer over the Christmas period in South Holland and want to thank the staff and councillors who worked tirelessly over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“They had a miserable Christmas some of them, but they worked their socks off and credit to them.”