Tens of thousands of properties in Norfolk are at risk of flooding and the long-term management of that risk will come under scrutiny next week.
A report before Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Scrutiny Committee next Tuesday will say that out of the 149 Lead Local Flood Authority areas (LLFA), Norfolk is ranked 10th most at risk, with 37,991 properties at risk from surface water flooding, 15,965 properties at risk from fluvial flooding and 46,121 properties at risk from tidal flooding.
Flood management in Norfolk is complicated by a number of factors including the county’s size, the fact it has many dispersed communities at risk of flooding and also because a significant number of areas face a high risk of both fluvial and tidal flooding.
One significant development the report will highlight will be the addition of four new specialist boat teams and ten first-responder flood rescue teams to the county council’s fire and rescue service. This follows a match-funded grant of £250,000 from the Department of the Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under the Flood Rescue National Enhancement Project.
The teams will be housed at specific locations around Norfolk following flood risk analysis by the the LLFA. This will ensure flood prevention, protection and emergency response capabilities are fully integrated, the report will say.
Paul Morse, Chair of the Cabinet Scrutiny Committee, said: “Flooding is obviously a very important issue for Norfolk and represents a significant risk for thousands of homeowners and businesses. My own Division was badly affected by tidal flooding in 2007 and surface water flooding in 2008.
Managing the risk long-term is a key issue for the county council. Cabinet Scrutiny Committee has received a number of reports on flood risk since the Pitt Review as new legislation has been introduced and been appraised of the key issues for the County Council. This report brings the committee right up to date with the current situation and gives members the chance to examine where the authority is in terms of flood risk management and planning.”
Cabinet Scrutiny Committee will meet at 10am on Tuesday September 27 in the Edwards Room at County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich.King’s Lynn and West Norfolk have the highest percentage of homes at risk of flooding anywhere in the eastern region, according to the Environment Agency.
In a recent State of the Environment report they said 8,500 homes and businesses in the King’s Lynn area were at significant risk of flooding.
In 2006, the bill to repair flood damage to eastern England was £88m. To repair flood damage in Norfolk the bill was £27m – the highest amount in the region.
The report said, with sea levels predicted to rise by between 22cm (8.5in) and 82cm (32.3in) over the next 70 years, protecting the county’s low-lying areas would be a key priority for the future.