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Changes to flood warning system planned

PUBLISHED: 09:08 27 November 2010

CHANGES to the official flood warning system are set to be introduced next week in a bid to make it more easily understood.

But a Norfolk flood warden has criticised the scheme, and claims, together with different official leaflets recently circulated, there will be “absolute confusion” among the public.

The Environment Agency is set to launch new icons on November 30. The first-stage Flood Watch symbol will be replaced with a new Flood Alert, telling people in affected areas that they should be prepared as flooding is possible.

Flood Warning and Severe Flood Warning, remain the same, although the shape and colours of all the symbols has been changed, and the current All Clear icon will be scrapped.

David Russell, senior flood warden for Sea Palling and Waxham, says the Environment Agency has failed to inform many at-risk residents about the imminent changes.

He is also concerned that a recently-reissued North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) flood advice leaflet, which he was poised to distribute to residents in his area, contains the old codes.

“The district council needs to sit down with the Environment Agency and talk.

“Let’s just get it all sorted out – people don’t know what’s going on,” said Mr Russell.

David Kemp, flood incident management team leader with the Environment Agency, said spending restrictions prohibited them from using cash to advertise the new scheme. But they had used the flood warning telephone system to send messages about the changes to 38,000 people, Mr Kemp says in an email to Mr Russell.

He also defended the agency’s new leaflet and DVD saying it was aimed at people not just in north Norfolk but further afield, adding: “In my opinion the more ways we can explain to people what to do before, during and after a flood the better.”

For more information on the agency’s free Flood Warnings Direct service, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk and/or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188.

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