Lancashire County Council, working with Blackpool Council, has launched a new plan to reduce the risk of floods causing damage to property or threat to life in future.
The councils have been 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.
They have a new role to co-ordinate activities by councils, water companies, the Environment Agency, communities and other partners to improve the way flood risk is managed in future. Now they want to know what people think of the plan during a consultation period beginning today (January 10th).
A vital element of the plan is a proposal to ensure communities at high risk are better-equipped to protect themselves and their properties when floods occur.
The Lancashire Local Flood Risk Management Strategy explains the nature of flood risk across the county, who is responsible for managing various types of flooding, and outlines proposals for further work to improve understanding of the causes, as well as specific objectives and measures to reduce the risk.
County Coun. Janice Hanson, LCC’s cabinet member for public protection, 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 it’s 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 six-week consultation on the plan runs until February 21st and people can view it and comment on it online at: www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay.
The two councils, along with the Environment Agency, will also host a series of events for people to discuss flooding issues and find out more about the plan, as follows:
Burnley Library – Monday, January 13th, 11 am to 7 pm
Ormskirk Parish Church – Friday, January 17th, noon to 7 pm
Bacup Library – Monday, January 20th, 11 am to 7 pm
County Hall, Preston – Wednesday, January 22nd, 11 am to 7 pm
Central Library, Blackpool – Monday, January 27th, 11 am to 7 pm
Fleetwood Library – Tuesday, January 28th, 11 am to 7 pm
Lancaster Library – Wednesday, February 5th, 12-30 pm to 7 pm.