No Sirens For Essex

People living in Essex won't be hearing the flood warning sirens here anymore as the County Council's decided to stop using them to save tens of thousands of pounds every year.

They say the sirens are really outdated and the Environment Agency warns people much more efficiently now by phone, email and text.

Essex County Councillor Tracey Chapman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste said: “In the current financial climate it would be extremely irresponsible of Essex County Council to continue to use a system that our partners believe to be no longer fit for purpose. We also need to consider what is really important and that is the safety of our residents. To rely on the Sirens to warn and inform when there are more effective measures out there is foolish and could, at worst, place lives at risk.”

David Johnson, Chief Fire Officer, Head of Essex County Council’s Emergency Planning team said: “The Environment Agency provides a range of free services to mitigate the risk of flooding; combining this with the advances in 24 hr news provision, mobile communication systems, the internet and the work of the Met Office we now have an early warning framework which is far more advanced and effective than the legacy of the sirens. It is a sensible decision for Essex County Council to end this contract and consign the sirens to the history books.”

As well as the improved mechanisms developed by the Environment Agency to communicate the risk of both inland and coastal flooding (which includes a mechanism to contact the public at home or on their mobile unless they have opted out) the current siren system is analogue and will become obsolete when the digital switchover occurs in 2014.