Managing flooding in partnership in Hampshire
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
One of the first partnership events of its kind focused on managing the risk of local flooding was hosted by Hampshire's Lead Local Flood Authority, Hampshire County Council.
On Monday December 9 Councillor Seán Woodward, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, welcomed over 100 delegates to 'From Planning to Delivery - Collaborative Flood Risk Management in Hampshire'.
The importance of improving local flood risk management remains crucial, particularly due to Hampshire's high water table making it vulnerable to ground water flooding, together with rising levels of rainfall.
Among those who attended were representatives from the district and borough councils, local parish councils, the water companies and the Environment Agency.
Speakers included Southern Water's Chief Executive, Matthew Wright and Paul Cobbing from the National Flood Forum charity.
A parliamentary-style scrutiny session was held in the afternoon, and there were also a range of exhibition stalls run by experts from each of the local flood risk authorities and other local community groups.
Cllr Woodward said: "The aim of this event was to encourage people to be prepared and be prepared to work together. Following events last week, coastal flooding is very much in our minds - with the East Coast having experienced the worst tidal surge since 1953. Such coastal flooding, can merge with other inland water pressures, causing local flooding, the risk of which is our primary focus. This successful event was very much about how we can take Hampshire's Flood Risk Management Strategy forward, and identify ways of working more effectively together - both in terms of sharing knowledge and delivering schemes - in order to prevent and minimise the risk of flooding. Team work and preparedness are everything."
Matthew Wright, Chief Executive of Southern Water said: "I am very pleased to have attended this event hosted by Hampshire County Council in Winchester. It can only be right that agencies responsible for managing flood risk come together to discuss how to improve their partnerships for the good of the public before, rather than after major flooding events. I hope that today will mark the beginnings of better understanding between authorities responsible for flood risk in Hampshire, so that together we can prevent events which might otherwise occur."
Paul Cobbing, from the National Flood Forum, added: "From this event we are hoping to become aware of more community based approaches to dealing with flooding. Communities are the key to managing flooding."
Jonathan Day, from the Environment Agency, concluded: "Partnership working is essential in reducing the risk and impact of flooding. All those involved need to work together - local authorities, the Environment Agency, water companies, the voluntary sector and most importantly, with and for the communities at risk."
As the lead local flood authority in the County, Hampshire County Council has produced a draft Groundwater Management Plan (GWMP) to identify and assess the nature and extent of groundwater flooding across the county and propose measures to address it.