The proactive response from the Environment Agency and other partners during last week’s threat of a severe tidal surge along the east coast of England must be congratulated, says ADA, the representative body for drainage, water level and flood-risk management authorities.
As the peak surge, strongest winds and largest waves did not coincide in all areas, the potential damage to land, property and flood defences did not materialise to the damaging levels predicted. However this was largely down to good fortune and it was both prudent and practical to issue warnings of danger to life and to encourage temporary evacuation of properties, according to ADA’s vice chairman.
Robert Caudwell, who alongside his role with ADA also grows a mixture of arable and horticultural crops on his family farm in the Witham Fourth Internal Drainage District in Lincolnshire, believes the country should be thankful for the pre-emptive response demonstrated by the Environment Agency.
“On a personal level I was extremely grateful to receive prior warnings of the potential threat to our land and property. As a family farm we suffered very badly in the floods of 2013 and I was pleased on this occasion to receive timely warnings in advance of any potential threat.
“Of course I am pleased that the predicted surge and subsequent flooding did not happen. But I was appreciative of the advance warnings to enable us to prepare.”
Some criticism was leveled at the perceived false alarm when there was little or no significant damage this time, but it was a very close call in many areas of the east coast. ADA has expressed its gratitude to the constructive way in which all of the various services worked together, and local decision makers adopted courses of action to ensure the safety of the public.
“This demonstrates how the partnership approach to drainage, water level and flood-risk management has taken a firm hold in our society,” continues Mr Caudwell.
“The warning systems we had did their job, particularly with the potential risk to life and livestock.”
ADA is the membership organisation for water level management (WLM) authorities in the UK and is also the recognised national representative for Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) in England and Wales.
Image: Breach in coastal defence in Lincolnshire following tidal surge back in December 2013