COUNCIL BRIEFING NOTE
When flooding occurs, residents will understandably be scared and upset and look to the council to take responsibility, including taking action to prevent or reduce flooding. Whilst local authorities like Walsall Council don’t have a statutory duty to prevent properties from flooding, we are able to clarify what we can do to help and offer further advice.
General advice and information about road drainage and flooding - https://go.walsall.gov.uk/road_gullies
Assistance/guidance in floods – http://www.stwater.co.uk/my-supply/pipes-and-drains/help-with-pipes/sewer-flooding/
Severn Trent’s public emergency number is 0800 389 1011
Walsall Council offers a number of out of hours emergency services via 01922 650000
Walsall Council’s full LIVE Gulley Cleaning System with full details about all gullies – for staff, councillors and residents alike to access - http://walsall.report-it.uk/public/index.html Here, residents can check when road gullies were last cleaned and also report blocked gullies.
Additionally, Walsall Council’s Emergency Planning web site contains a plethora of information including Flood Advice and sources of additional information- http://walsallemergencyplanning.co.uk/
The latest information on flooding will be available from the Environment Agency's Floodline service: 0345 988 1188 or here
For flooding from sewers or burst water mains, contact the appropriate company for your area (note: South Staffs Water does not operate sewers; only water supply)
Walsall Council and highway drainage
We maintain over 36,000 storm water gullies – the drains at the side of the road - which are cleaned annually. If gullies are reported as being blocked in between the annual cleaning, we will attend and attempt to clear any blockage.
These drains feed into Severn Trent’s public sewers. When the public sewers are running at full capacity during intense ongoing rainfall, they are unable to accept any more water from our gullies, which can make it appear that the gullies are blocked.
Working with our highways contractor, we monitor and record all known flood risk areas. When warnings of exceptional weather are given, we carry out proactive cleaning and removal of debris in streams, grids, gullies, culverts and so on in these areas. We also investigate all enquiries, including those which come in out of normal working hours.
In preparation for the predicted severe weather today our contractor is currently clearing, as they did last week, all gullies in low areas, those at risk and all debris as far as practicable.
Our highways contractor delivered 200 sand bags to residents yesterday in response to their requests. These are in addition to previous years where they were retained by residents in anticipation of future occurrences. Additionally, Clean and Green has been provided with 200 sandbags free of charge (made from sand recycled from road sweepings) by their contractor SUEZ. These have been available for residents to collect from the Household Waste Recycling Centre at Fryers Road this afternoon. Residents who are in danger of flooding have been advised of this offer on calling the contact centre.
Role of the Lead Local Flood Authority
- Developing and implementing a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.
- Ensuring that all organisations involved in flood risk management are aware of their responsibilities.
- Monitoring progress and activity by all parties involved in flood risk management.
- Coordinating communication, both with the public and between organisations.
- Preparing reports and plans to meet the requirements of the Flood Risk Regulations 2009.
- Carrying out flood investigations where appropriate and publishing reports.
- Keeping an asset register of structures and features which may have a significant effect on local flood risk.
- Designation of Third Party Assets where appropriate.
- Regulation of Ordinary Watercourses, including permissive powers to require landowners to maintain ordinary watercourses on their land / property.
- Providing technical advice to Local Planning Authorities on surface water drainage strategies for major developments.
The council also has permissive powers which allow us to carry out works to manage flood risk from surface water and groundwater.
In an emergency
If you are in immediate danger, contact the emergency services by dialling 999.
Only call for emergency assistance if there is a risk to life or a risk of serious property/environmental damage. During a flood, the emergency services may be very busy.
Main river flooding
Call Environment Agency – 03708 506506. This can also be used to report blocked watercourses, before flooding has occurred.
In your home:
- Clear drains to allow surface water to escape and prevent it reaching your home.
- Turn off the gas, water and electricity supply to your home before flooding. This should make the services easier to reinstate once floodwater has dropped.
- Put plugs into sinks and baths and weigh them down to prevent water coming up drains and into your property. If you have other flood protection equipment such as a seal for use in toilets, install this.
- If safe to do so move valuables upstairs. If you are sheltering in your property, ensure there is a means of escape.
- If you have to evacuate your property, make sure to take essential items such as medication, reading glasses, and bank cards/money with you and follow any official advice you are given.
- Do not let children play in flood water. The water can be unsafe and it can also become contaminated with raw sewage and chemicals.
- Monitor weather reports on local television or radio news channels or via the Met Office to ensure you have the latest information.
- Do not use towpaths as you maybe unable to see where the main channel and towpath meet.
- Do not attempt to walk through flooded areas. Even shallow water can sweep you off your feet.
- Floodwater may lead to be hidden dangers such as open drains, damaged road surfaces, submerged debris or deep channels - these can cause serious injuries or even death.
- Do not travel in heavy rain storms unless absolutely necessary.
Eighty per cent of flood deaths occur in vehicles. Motorists should not attempt to drive through flooded roads or fords. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast. Your vehicle may be swept away or you may become stranded.
With water utility companies around the country advising that flood water may contain sewage, there is also the chance that driving through it you will spread this sewage onto your car and further into flooded streets.
More advice on flooding and insurance
Further information for advice on what to do before, during or after can be found on the Environment Agency’s website
If you have been flooded, contact your insurance company and follow their advice.
If you don’t have insurance, the National Flood Forum may be able to offer advice. Call them on 01299 403055 or visit their website www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk.
If you live in a whg property and experience flooding, please call their contact centre on 0300 555 6666.