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More heavy rain on the way for Hampshire

Thursday, 06 February 2014

With up to 100mm of rain forecast to fall between now and the weekend, accompanied by strong winds, Hampshire County Council continues to work around the clock to clear fallen trees and alleviate flooding.

Councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: "Further rain will swell rivers even further, and the groundwater level is now very high, with ditches full of water and water lying in fields in many areas. Therefore local flooding is now expected as there is simply nowhere for the rainwater to go.

"Our first priority is to keep the main roads clear of fallen trees and surface water as far as we can. I'd ask all residents to take extra care on the roads - it's difficult to judge the depth of water, and some water is quite fast flowing. Please take heed of road sign warnings and be mindful of all other road users.

"We will continue to have extra highways crews on standby, ready to deal with the effects of the weather. We have been dealing with around one hundred sites across Hampshire that have been flooded. So far, we have deployed over 20,000 sandbags on the highways in areas that are hardest hit. We're doing everything we can, but some disruption is inevitable given the amount of rain forecast."

This week, Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, has taken part in a conference on flooding in the region, organised by Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis MP.

He said: "I certainly conveyed to him and Alison Baptiste, a top Environment Agency manager, how difficult the situation is in Hampshire, especially in Hambledon.

"As a result of the flooding, the condition of Hampshire's road network has deteriorated, and we estimate that this damage alone will cost £1million to repair.

"I explained how, across Hampshire, 81 communities have been affected by flooding, with Hambledon and Romsey suffering particularly badly, with parts of both communities also contaminated by sewage.

"I told the Minister I was truly impressed by the tremendous community response in Hambledon where 150 properties are at risk. County Council teams have helped the local community round the clock over the past three weeks - with 20,000 sandbags delivered and 100 pumps on site.

"I have written to the Environment Agency last week, setting out the need for a main drainage pipe under the main road in Hambledon,

"Previously we have been told the scheme would not rank highly against other priorities of the Environment Agency - this is not good enough. Hambledon needs a proper drain, and it needs it before next winter. Almost every house in that village has been impacted by the flooding. It's time for a positive response from the Environment Agency on this, and I will keep up the pressure to see Hambledon does not face another winter like this."

The County Council's Emergency Planning Team is also prepared and on standby, to support the emergency services and to assist those who need help with emergency situations that may arise as a consequence of the heavy rainfall.

People can report road problems online and tune in to BBC Radio Solent and other local radio stations for traffic reports. Advice is also available on driving in winter conditions.

Advice on flooding can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/flooding, and flood warnings can be found on the Environment Agency website.

School closures will be reported on the County Council's website.

If anyone has concerns about any older or vulnerable people in their community during times of adverse weather, they should call: 0845 603 5630 or out of hours 0845 600 4555. Hampshire residents are asked to be good neighbours and check on anybody elderly or who may be vulnerable during this time.

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