One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
The Gloucestershire floods: 5 years on
It's five years since the Gloucestershire floods of 2007, in which 5,000 homes and businesses were flooded and over 300,000 homes left with no water.
Since then, the county council, district councils and the Environment Agency have invested heavily in alleviation works to reduce the flood risk to the county.
In one of the wettest summers on record, the county has again been battered by heavy rain and strong winds. But the millions of pounds's of investment in new and improved flood protection have helped the county stay safe. Works have ranged from major schemes to clearing and repairing culverts and streams and increased gulley emptying.
In the year after the floods, Gloucestershire County Council spent more than £4 million on flood works and has spent at least £2.3 million annually since then.
The county council has contributed to more than 160 match-funded projects with the district councils and has provided £750,000 to seven major flood schemes in partnership with the Environment Agency. These are: Deerhurst; Prestbury; Lydney; Horsbere Brook; Daniels Brook (in progress); Churn (in progress); and Fairford (starting shortly).
The county council was one of the first to pilot Surface Water Management Plans in partnership with Defra, to identify flood risks and mitigation measures. The council now has extra powers to investigate flood incidents and for giving consent or enforcing work on watercourses.
In Gloucester, around £830,000 has been spent by the city council. More than 85 projects have been completed, with more work still to be done. Some of the works to help clear brooks, streams and watercourses have been carried out with the assistance of local communities and voluntary organisations resulting in many thousands of hours of volunteer time.
In Tewkesbury , around £600,000 has been spent by Tewkesbury Borough Council on flood protection since 2007. More than 85 projects have been completed and there are ongoing works. In addition, the council now has an annual budget of £50,000 to spend on routine maintenance of council-owned watercourses. The biggest schemes include individual flood protection in Withybridge Gardens in Boddington (approximately £77,000), a village flood relief ditch scheme in Pamington (approximately £51,000) and an upgrade to a flood pumping station in Deerhurst (approximately £47,000).
In Cheltenham , the borough council has invested in 14 major schemes and numerous smaller schemes to protect homes and businesses. These include the £214,000 project to protect Leisure @Cheltenham, following the £5 million refurbishment as a result of flood damage in July 2007. Other schemes include the £107,000 Oak Avenue scheme to protect 13 properties and the £760,000 Warden Hill flood works to protect 130 properties.
In the Forest of Dean , the council working with partners has invested some £900,000 in flood alleviation work, making improvements to drainage and culverts across the district. These include a survey of major culverts in Lydney, drainage improvements, working with the Environment Agency, in Lydney, watercourse clearance and re-cutting in Steam Mills and a survey and clearance of main culverts and clearance work on the watercourses in Newent town centre.
Schemes in Stroud district included establishing a network of watercourse wardens across the district to monitor rivers and streams, removal of 5,000 cubic metres of silt on a 400m stretch of canal in Stonehouse, flood modelling of Painswick stream and flood protection measures for individual homes in Bridgend.
Cotswold District Council continues to work in partnership with communities, the Environment Agency and Gloucestershire County Council to fund and deliver flood alleviation schemes which reduce flood risk in settlements affected severely by flooding in 2007.
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