We’ve had a small victory in our campaign to get the gully’s cleared in the village. Cllr Mike Lawrence e-mailed me with this press release today:”RELEASE.
I am pleased that tomorrow we will be announcing a priority circa £300k spend on ‘Gully’ clearing/cleaning and inspection with a specialist contractor before the winter takes its grip upon us.
This very wet summer has had a huge impact upon our Highway drainage with gravel and other debris constantly being swept into the Gullies on our roads, blocking them and causing water to lie in large pools.
Our Highway teams, as well as getting on in this summer season with the road reconstruction programme where we have invested the extra £50M, have been battling the elements hurrying from one problem to the next to keep our roads as safe as possible – our first priority. The constant attrition of roadsides being continually wet has also meant that the Gullies and connecting pipe work have taken unusual amounts of material and our normal Gully cleaning programme is swamped.
So to tackle this root problem we are going to address it head on with extra resource. By doing this now it will also help our road maintenance programme for next year by taking away the lying water and therefore its effect on the Highways – one of the most damaging elements to our roads.
In addition I will be writing to the District Councils who keep the roads swept asking them to not cut back in this time of financial constraint, on their street cleaning programme during the winter, as this will acerbate the problem and no matter how much we dig out and clean the drainage system, if the torrential rain continues then the Gullies we have cleared will be blocked again in a very short time.
I am also asking Members to help with this cleaning programme by indentifying the problem areas in their Division to ensure we go to those first. The Highways team will be producing a programme for this work and they will share it with you so you can see if these problems areas have been picked up.
In addition to the direct impact of the flooding, the waters hydraulic action causes damage to road surfaces and edges, this has led to twice the number of defects than normal over the spring and summer. So we are taking this action now because of the need to ensure that we are clear of standing water issues before a possible freeze sets in, as it will cause much more damage to the Highway, as well as be a dangerous hazard to road safety.
Surface Water Issues
Flooding is a very complex issue involving Landowners, the Environment Agency with rivers, Water Authorities (Severn Trent etc) and others. Our role at the County is to co-ordinate with these organisations to minimise the impact of flooding. We have only just assumed this responsibility since the Government endorsement of the Pitt report on the 2007 floods and gave us extra powers as a County Council in 2012.
Currently we are recruiting specialist Officers with environmental experience to join the Commissioner for the Sustainable Environment’s team and hope we will have them in place by November at the latest. These people will join Matt Bulzacchelli our Flood Manager, to work with our Communities tackling the flooding issues.
Shortly we will have a say in planning that will ensure that future developments are not built in high risk surface water flood areas and /or have the capacity to deal with surface water run off. However we still have to deal with the legacy of the past and the team once in place will be taking the lead to try and assist with current problems and engaging with those communities along with partners, such as the Environment Agency, Severn Trent, District & Parish Councils, as well as the effected Residents themselves.
This year we will also spend approximately £200k on asset surveys within some our known flood risk areas. This information will provide valuable feedback on the condition of the highway drainage systems and how they are likely to perform during periods of flood to help us with our planning.
END OF RELEASE.”