Work under way to tackle flood risk across the region

Flashback: In September 2012 residents on the lower section of Cart Lane in Preesall, suffered some 24 hours of non-stop rain. Sandbags were stockpiled by Wyre Council
Flashback: In September 2012 residents on the lower section of Cart Lane in Preesall, suffered some 24 hours of non-stop rain. Sandbags were stockpiled by Wyre Council

It’s time to have your say on Lancashire’s new flood defence strategy.

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council are seeking the public’s response to their new flood risk management plan.

The consultation period, started last Friday and lasts for six weeks until February 21.

The strategy document is available on LCC’s website entitled Lancashire Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

County Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member for public protection, said it was clear there was a need for greater shared responsibility and coordination of activities between organisations and individuals involved to reduce risks. The county and Blackpool councils were 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.

It was acknowledged “exposed significant gaps in the way that flood risks were assessed and managed.”

The councils say they want communities at high risk to be better equipped to protect themselves and their properties when floods occur.

For Wyre the strategy notes: “Key areas of the district are at high risk of tidal and fluvial flooding, with high tidal and fluvial levels impeding discharge of smaller watercourses and drainage systems. Flash flooding from ordinary watercourses occurs in the east of the district, with surface water and sewer flooding dominating towards the southern border with Blackpool. The Lancaster Canal poses a potential flood risk and there are several reservoirs in the district which pose a medium risk of flooding.”

LCC, Blackpool Council and the Environment Agency will also be hosting events to enable the public to discuss flooding issues and find out more about the plan.

They will be at: County Hall, Preston – Wednesday January 22, 11am to 7pm; Central Library, Blackpool Monday January 27 11am - 7pm; Fleetwood Library Tuesday January 28, 11am - 7pm and Lancaster Library – Wednesday February 5 12.30pm - 7pm

Coun Hanson (pictured)said: “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.

“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.”

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.

The strategy can be viewed and commented on at