Response to flooding in South Somerset

Somerset floodsSouth Somerset District Council has been responding to calls for help in the district after heavy rain has caused severe flooding in large parts of the district.

Flood warnings have been issued in many parts of the district by the Environment Agency and with the water still potentially rising in the rivers, along with the run-off of water from the fields, there is still the danger of flooding in some areas.

The district council’s Streetscene Services Team has been out delivering sandbags to those properties that have requested them. As of Monday 6 January, the team has gone through 40 tonnes of sand and delivered an estimated 3500 sandbags and self-inflating gel bags to households.

Flooding on roads has caused the council’s teams great difficulties in getting around the district further hampered by the fact that most of the trucks the teams use can only carry a maximum of 40 sandbags before they reach the maximum weight limit the vehicle can carry. High winds have also caused the service further complications with trees falling down and therefore manpower having to be diverted to felling trees rather than delivering sandbags. Staff have been working over the past few weekends under the coordination of the Civil Contingencies Manager to ensure sandbags still get those who request them out of normal working hours.

Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, Portfolio Holder for Environment & Economic Development said, “I am exceptionally proud of the way in which my team has worked in the most difficult of conditions to help people out in their time of need. I know that their work will have saved many families from suffering the anguish of a flooded home and I have been particularly happy to receive a number of compliments both about the speed of SSDC’s response and about the cheerful manner of our staff when delivering the much needed sandbags.”

As the rain continues to fall across South Somerset, residents are advised to keep up to date with flood warnings by checking the Environment Agency website and listening to local weather via radio or television. Residents are also advised to be prepared by buying sandbags in advance and thinking about how they can protect their property in the future with the use of flood boards.

South Somerset District Council has a policy to issue gel bags and sandbags free of charge (6 per doorway) to residential properties only upon request if the property is in immediate danger of flooding.

Should residents require sandbags, they should call 01935 462462.

Additional sandbags can be purchased from the District Council at a cost of £3.20 subject to availability.

In recognition of the fact that property owners need to consider ‘self-help’ options to protect their property from flooding they may wish to purchase sandbags (filled or empty) from elsewhere. They can also be obtained from most local builders’ merchants.