Liberal Democrats are proposing a six point action plan to tackle Surrey’s flooding. The proposals aim to reduce the impact of future heavy rain by putting in place preventative measures. They are:
1. Complete and update Surrey County Council’s currently outdated records on where flooding occurs (wetspots) and the Flooding Asset Register of walls, ditches and bridges which are known to cause flooding.
2. Increase the cleaning of gullies (road drains) which is currently usually only once a year.
3. Plant trees, particularly on high ground. An environmentally friendly way of trapping and slowing down the movement of water.
4. Work with districts and boroughs not to build on flood plains.
5. Repair flood damaged roads and bridges.
6. Apply for funding from central government and the European Union.
Stephen Cooksey said: “These actions if implemented by the County Council will make a real difference to prevent the flooding in Surrey in the future.
“The recent floods have had a devastating effect on many residents and businesses. Everything possible must be done to reduce the risk of this recurring.
“The Conservative administration at County Hall has taken its eye off the ball and has not given enough priority to flood prevention. Basic things are very out of date, for example its record of places where flooding occurs ‘wetspots’ hasn’t been updated for two years.
“Similarly the County Council’s Flooding Asset Register, in which the County Council is legally required to record details of walls, ditches or bridges known to cause flooding is woefully incomplete, only recording 65 items for the whole county, and is out of date having last been updated over two years ago.
“The County Council urgently needs to get its act together, update its information on flooding and structures that cause flooding before assessing what needs to be done to prevent flooding in the future and to calculate the cost of doing so.
“I question the adequacy of the council’s policy of only cleaning out gullies at least once a year, this clearly needs to be increased as many of Surrey’s gullies are blocked, which then causes flooding. In addition the County Council needs to dig out more ditches in rural areas to help prevent flooding.
“Whilst Surrey County Council’s staff, the emergency services and other agencies have done an excellent job in responding to this crisis, much could have been done to lessen the impact of the recent bad weather if the County Council had taken preventative action, and lessons need to be learnt and acted upon to ensure the effects of future heavy rainfall is reduced.”