James was on the panel at a Public Meeting about flooding held in Burnham Market.
On Tuesday, rather than being in Parliament I was on the panel at a public meeting in #BurnhamMarket on flooding organised by the Parish Council with local Councillors Andrew Jamieson and Sam Sandell, and attended by representatives from Anglian Water, the Environment Agency, the Internal Drainage Board, Norfolk County Council Highways, and other representatives.
Over 100 people attended, demonstrating the terrible impact the recent flooding has had on villages, people’s homes, gardens, the streets, and businesses. Over many weeks, I’ve been helping constituents unable to flush toilets or who have had sewage coming up in their gardens or the road and taking up cases urgently to help them.
I did the same three years ago and after that flooding there was investment in re-lining of sewers and other steps but clearly more needs to be done. This meeting was an opportunity to discuss short and longer term solutions.
A few areas I highlighted were:
- the need for better co-ordination – no single organisation is responsible for all the issues we have seen so everyone needs to work together to tackle them. I welcome the creation of the multi-agency engineering cell looking at delivering short and long term solutions including for #BurnhamMarket #NorthCreake #SouthCreake and I joined one of their recent meetings on behalf of constituents
- Using local knowledge – when I’m out with constituents they have local knowledge that could usefully be deployed to help mitigate the risk of flooding and deal with issues we are facing. Those insights were one of the most valuable parts of the meeting.
- Welfare – I’ve been to the homes of elderly and vulnerable people who’ve been unable to use toilets, sinks and baths. There needs to be a process in place to support them between councils and other organisations. The borough council has said support was available on a case-by-case basis.
Among issues raised during the meeting were cutting reed and weeds, overpumping, pumping capacity, tankering, sluice gates, clearing drains, and private landowners responsibilities.
The ideas and suggestions put forward will be considered further by all the multi-agency group and there are further meetings planned with villagers on a local lead flood authority project to identify longer term solutions.
For advice if you are affected by flooding and how to report it visit https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/safety/floods/report-a-flood