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Agencies form alliance to tackle flooding issues in South Creake

The Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance met for the first time last week to tackle flooding issues in South Creake after record-breaking rainfall left groundwater and river levels at an all-time high.

Representatives of Norfolk County Council, West Norfolk Borough Council, the Environment Agency, the Water Level Management Alliance and Anglian Water developed further plans to support the welfare of residents living in affected areas.

Lucinda Gilfoyle, head of environmental quality at Anglian Water said: “Following such persistent rainfall on already saturated ground, groundwater levels remain extremely high and it takes very little rain now to cause further flooding, especially in areas virtually at sea level.

Welney flooding. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary(44415753)
Welney flooding. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary(44415753)

“The majority of our customers remain unaffected but we are seeing the impact in a handful of areas where the network has become totally overwhelmed by floodwater, despite our pumps and water recycling centres working as hard as they can.”

She added: The sewerage system was never designed to deal with flood water and when it is full of this rather than sewage, it simply can’t do its job.

“We would urge anyone who is concerned for their welfare whilst we continue to battle with the flooding issues to contact their local council in the first instance for support, however please do let us know as well about any issues with your toilet facilities as we will do all we can.”

In a bid to reduce pressure on the water waste network, Anglian Water and the Environment Agency have agreed on temporary permits to allow for flood water to be pumped away from homes and into nearby rivers and ditches.

Providing they meet strict environmental and flood risk criteria, it is hoped this will enable toilet facilities to return to normal use.

County councillor Sandra Squire, for Marshland, said: “I wrote to Lord Dannatt ahead of the first meeting of the flooding alliance, he assured me that actions not just words would come from the Alliance meetings.

"While I’m pleased to see agencies working together to tackle the issue, in most cases the rivers and ditches are already full of water leaving nowhere for the water to be pumped to, except onto farmers' fields, which affect their crops. I’m hopeful of more productive actions in the future.”

Anglian Water has estimated the sewer network is carrying 25 per cent more water than this time last year following two months of the most rainfall the East of England has seen in 100 years.

Already the water company has doubled the number of tankers working across the region, drafting in vehicles from as far away as Manchester. Now with melting snow across the county, it is expected that the high water levels will remain for some time.

Residents affected by the flooding should contact the relevant agencies, more information is available at www.norfolk.gov.uk/flooding

Pictured, Welney has also been badly affected by flooding due to high rainfall.

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