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For the past 10 days, Gloucestershire County Council and the six district councils have been pooling their efforts to limit the damage caused by the severe weather. In all, the councils attended more than 600 calls for support from all around the county.
When the heavy rain started, a coordination group was set up with representatives from each council taking part and providing information on issues in each area.
The district councils focused their efforts on supporting residents by providing sandbags, visiting affected areas to provide information and advice, finding temporary accommodation for those affected and operating rest centres, though fortunately, the centres weren’t needed.
The county council concentrated on keeping as many roads open as possible, tackling drainage issues all around the county, sending firefighters and highways teams to pump out water from the worst affected areas and rescuing people who had become stranded or isolated by the flood water using the fire service boats.
More than 8,000 sandbags were distributed and around 500 homes were visited and offered support by the council teams.
Sadly, around 80 homes across Gloucestershire flooded over the past week and the councils will continue to work with everyone who has been affected to help them get back on their feet. While any damage to property is devastating, the Environment Agency has confirmed that without the investment into flood protection from the seven councils since the 2007 floods, more than 500 homes would have been flooded this time around.
Cllr Will Windsor Clive, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet member for communities, said:
“Gloucestershire’s seven councils have worked together to do our best to protect people from the rising flood waters and to minimise the disruption it caused. Although any property flooding is traumatic for residents, it is reassuring that our investment in flood alleviation has protected so many more properties from flooding.”
Here is a breakdown of how each Council responded to the flooding:
Gloucestershire County Council:
· Highways teams attended around 200 emergency incidents which included pumping water from overflowing drains, tending to dangerous trees, clearing debris from culverts and managing road closures
· Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service attended around 350 calls from people needing help or those concerned about becoming isolated.
· The fire service boats and hovercrafts attended dozens of incidents and rescued individuals and families from flooded areas
· Around 500 sandbags were provided to the district councils on request to help with residents homes
· Crews were available 24 hours a day attending incidents around the county
The rest centre at the Leisure centre was on standby though it was not needed.
Established an Emergency Coordination team to work closely with the emergency services and other organisations, particularly the Environment Agency. Among their many tasks, the team compiled valuable updates on a range of issues including road closures, and sewage and drainage problems, arranged assistance for vulnerable residents who were struggling to cope with the conditions, dispatched officers to monitor flood levels, and provided much needed guidance to residents.
Officers in Public Protection visited properties in Hereward Road, Blake Road, Admiralty Row, Escott Road, Dugdale Road, Hakeburn Road & Spitalgate Lane to understand the extent of the flooding and identify any other issues and provide leaflets and information to affected residents.
We will soon be writing to local residents affected informing them of the help and guidance available to them, including the recently announced emergency relief grants
· More than 1000 sand bags delivered to homes
· We received 105 requests for information, advise and assistance responded to over nine days
· More than 100 homes in vulnerable locations visited, letters left and residents given assistance / reassurance
· Residents cut off by flooding visited by boat to check they were okay and take essential supplies.
· Water courses and flood defences visited, checked and cleared of debris and blockages on a daily bases during the period of severe weather including Saturday and Sunday.
· Response team were on standby 24 hours a day throughout this period
· Staff carried out 24 hour monitoring of river Severn for critical 48 hour period.
· The emergency team were on standby to open a rest centre for any residents affected by flooding. This was not required as residents who were evacuated went to stay with family and friends or chose to stay at home.
· Officers worked closely with the emergency services and other organisations, including the Environment Agency, giving updates on issues in our area.
· Officers visited many people affected to give advice and detail how we are able to help them.
· Street Wardens are visiting areas affected speaking to people and handing out leaflets on how to deal with flood damage.
· The council has waived the bulky items collections charge for domestic properties suffering flood damage. Please call 01594 810000 to arrange this free of charge collection.
· Environmental Health officers can visit on request to give advice on food contamination or provide written verification of food destroyed by flooding e.g. freezer contents for insurance companies.
· Street Wardens and other officers on the ground are available to help remove furniture etc damaged by flood water.
· Teams issued 2,000 sandbags over weekend to residents homes
· Neighbourhood wardens attended to numerous flood-related incidents.
· Housing teams sent out to help council residents with localised flooding issues
· Teams remained on standby 24 hours a day to assist with call outs.
· Officers from Tewkesbury Borough Council have been out visiting residents living vulnerable properties across the borough to make sure they are okay, to give advice and to let them know that our rest centre is there if it’s needed. During the visits, officers were providing leaflets on how to deal with flood damage, advice on council tax exemptions, advice from environmental health on food contamination etc.
· A rest centre was opened as a precautionary measure. This was not needed as residents who were evacuated had made alternative arrangements, such as staying with family or friends.
· We provided more than 4500 sandbags to help protect residents’ homes, with special pick up locations being set up in Longford, Twigworth and Maisemore, as well as at the council offices in Tewkesbury.
· Trash screens, which collect and prevent the passage of waste, continue to be cleared by officers and waste piled on the side of banks is being removed.
· A free collection service for flood-damaged goods is being offered
· In Cheltenham, we had a stock of 500 sandbags and a reserve of 10 tonnes of sand, which was given to colleagues in Tewkesbury.
· Officers from Ubico, Cheltenham Borough Council's environmental services company, also went over to Tewkesbury to assist them with a variety of duties.
· In addition, we had extra crews of staff working hard in Cheltenham to clear drains and we had the council's emergency team on stand-by to respond to any local flooding issues.