Yarmouth flash floods come under the spotlight

DAMAGE caused by flash flooding will be the subject of a year-long study to prevent future problems for people living in Great Yarmouth.

The investigation has been launched by Norfolk County Council and will form the basis for a Surface Water Management Plan aimed at identifying vulnerable areas in the county and drawing up measures to reduce their flood risk.

It comes after a flood in 2006 damaged 100 Yarmouth properties, six schools and caused widespread disruption.

Bill Borrett, cabinet member for waste and environment, said: “People in Great Yarmouth will need no reminder how devastating and long-lasting the effects of flooding can be.

“This year has been exceptionally dry, but the storm of 2006 showed how that can change in just a few hours.

“Since then, improvements by Anglian Water have reduced the risk in the Northgate Street area that suffered so badly, but the work on the Surface Water Management Plan will look at the risks to a wider area.

“It will not only identify vulnerable areas and properties, it will also recommend measures that can be taken immediately by householders, and longer-term steps that the relevant authorities should be investigating.”

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Surface water flooding occurs when the ground, rivers and drains cannot cope with heavy rainfall.

Measures have been introduced to reduce the risk to the Northgate Street area of Yarmouth by carrying out improvements to the sewer capacity.

Mick Castle, Labour councillor for Great Yarmouth’s Central and Northgate Ward, has welcomed the study if it means drains and sewers will be closely assessed and well maintained in the future.

He said: “I am quite confident that the Northgate area is well served because we had a new sewerage system put in place two years ago. However, we still need good maintenance, and drains and pumps need to be working properly.

“Traditionally it has been an area that has had a problem with heavy rain, but the improvements have made sure the drains have been kept clear.”

The project launched yesterday is jointly funded by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Anglian Water and Norfolk County Council.

The first stage will involve collecting data on land use, drainage and flooding across the borough, before selecting areas for detailed assessment and drawing up a range of actions to lessen the chances of flooding.

The Great Yarmouth flood in 2006 forced roads, businesses and schools to close and left traffic at a standstill.

Fire crews from as far away as Dereham and Thetford were drafted in to deal with more than 300 reports of flooding.