‘Not an emergency, not a major incident’ says Fenland Council as town recovers from storm

PUBLISHED: 12:44 13 August 2014 | UPDATED: 13:14 15 August 2014

Barefoot reporter James Podesta interviewsTesco manager Mark Steele about the floods which saw the store closed and 500 evacuated. Picture: Steve Williams.

Barefoot reporter James Podesta interviewsTesco manager Mark Steele about the floods which saw the store closed and 500 evacuated. Picture: Steve Williams.

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Fenland Council said the weekend flooding – though serious- was not officially declared an emergency and so limited their response.

March floods readers pictures. Cedar Road March. Picture: Maureen Coker. March floods readers pictures. Cedar Road March. Picture: Maureen Coker.

“Our full emergency plan kicks in when an emergency/major incident is declared by one of the emergency services,” their spokesman said.

“This was not officially declared an emergency/major incident. However there were regular coordinated meetings involving the emergency services, Fenland Council and Cambridgeshire County Council throughout Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday morning.”

The council also revealed it only keeps a “very limited” supply of sandbags in Wisbech, mainly to mitigate against a tidal surge/flood risk there.

“But we do not provide sand bags ourselves,” said the spokesman.

March floods readers pictures.Gresley Way, Picture: Tony Hill. March floods readers pictures.Gresley Way, Picture: Tony Hill.

The county council did provide sandbags, however, some 2,000 being deployed “in the north and east of the county.”

The county council also revealed that with 60mm of rainfall in Chatteris and 50mm in March on Friday (as well as 100mm in Bar Hill and Bourne) extra highway teams were drafted in.

“The sheer volume of water that fell in such a short time meant some roads had to be closed either due to flooding or in the case of Nene Parade, March, when the river bank slipped,” said the county council spokesman.

“The pressure of this water popped storm drains and also left debris on some roads that had to be cleared.”

 Flooding Birchwood Avenue. Flooding Birchwood Avenue.

Meanwhile Fenland Council revealed it will remove, for the next two weeks and free of charge, any flood damaged carpets or furniture.

The council also promised a full inspection of all the streets in March that have been affected.

They will use a street sweeper and washer “to cleanse the highway and pavement where this is necessary”.

The Fenland Council spokesman added: “Friday’s rain was truly exceptional – nobody in March had seen anything like it before. There was no suggestion from the Met Office in advance warning of the sort of rainfall we experienced.”

The council said its other flood responses included setting up and helping to staff the rest centre in St John’s Church Hall.

“General advice is available on our website and in leaflets available in the shops, which were open on Saturday morning,” said the spokesman.

“We have helped to set up the flood warden scheme in Whittlesey and are also helping to establish one in Wisbech. We have also worked with parish councils to develop resilience within the villages and rural communities.

“As with any incident of this kind, we are evaluating our response and determining what further improvements may be necessary in the way we deal with any similar event in the future.”

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