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Cross party discussion on Storm Babet to take place

Tuesday, 19 March 2024

Image of cars stranded in the road due to flooding

The impact of storm Babet will be discussed at Nottinghamshire County Council’s Place Select Committee on 27 March.

Between 18 and 21 October 2023, 124mm of rain fell across parts of Nottinghamshire, with 95mm of this falling in one day alone. This was the wettest three days since records began and caused drainage systems and watercourses to become overwhelmed.

The impacts of the extreme weather resulted in the internal flooding of 1,259 homes and businesses across the county.

The county council declared a major incident on 21 October 2023 and worked alongside partner organisations including the Environment Agency, district and borough councils and the emergency services to support residents.

77 roads were closed by the county council’s highways partner Via East Midlands, 376 calls for support were received and the Environment Agency issued 17 flood alerts, 57 flood warnings and two severe flood warnings during the course of the storm.

As the lead local flood authority, the county council initiates an investigation into the causes and effects where five or more properties in a local area have been affected by internal flooding. The investigation outlines what happened during the flooding event and whether the relevant risk management authorities (such as the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water and the county council) have exercised their responsibilities.

The county council has pledged to continue support for flood affected communities through a number of initiatives where appropriate, including commissioning further investigations, expanding the Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Programme, investigating the feasibility for further natural flood management projects, strengthening relationships with local landowners to understand their responsibilities and continuing to deliver community feedback workshops alongside partners.

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “We know that flooding can devastate communities and I have seen first-hand during the aftermath of Storm Babet the awful impacts that this can have on people’s homes and livelihoods.

“It’s important to remember that each community is different and that flooding cannot always be attributed to just one cause across the whole of a county.

“In this case, the sheer volume of rainfall in a three-day period saturated land and severely overwhelmed watercourses and drainage systems.

“We hear a lot of feedback that residents feel that highways flooding is down to blocked drains but I’d like to stress that in cases such as this, even the cleanest of drains would not have been able to cope with the volume of water falling and trying to travel into the system.

“In many cases in communities, large open spaces such as playing fields and agricultural land became saturated which caused water to run off the land rather than soak into it. Roads became channels for water to travel along due to the sheer volume of it.

“It’s also important to remember that flooding can also occur due to rivers reaching their capacity and breaching their banks, and in this case it is the Environment Agency who would lead on mitigation.

“I cannot mention Storm Babet without mentioning the fantastic community response that we saw across Nottinghamshire. I have had the pleasure of meeting and thanking some of our dedicated flood warden volunteers several times over the last few years. Our 18 Community Flood Signage Schemes each came into their own last October to protect residents from flooding.

“We know that the publication of the investigation reports will not bring all of the answers that communities may be looking for but we hope that they give some hope when it comes to looking at how we can continue to support them to reduce flooding in the future.

“I’d also like to thank all of the staff across the county council and Via East Midlands who supported residents and communities during the flooding.”

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