In response the terrible flooding that hit large parts of Mid Norfolk just before Christmas, and in the early months of this year, I convened a Mid Norfolk Flood Partnership to give our affected local communities a stronger voice to speak out on the issue.
With local Breckland councillors, Norfolk County councillors, parish councils and community groups all involved, and with representatives of Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and Norfolk County Council Highways/Water and Flood Management teams all invited to present and be questioned, a list of 14 recommendations were produced – all of which were included in a letter from myself to Lord Dannatt, who had recently become the Chair of NCC’s new Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance.
That’s why, at the latest meeting of the MNFP, I was delighted to hear of the tremendous progress that is being made – and that many of the recommendations made by the group have been adopted and are being put into practice by the NSFA.
Among the first plans to be implemented are:
- The establishing of a new 0344 helpline number so that people and businesses affected by flooding can call a single contact and receive advice, support and assistance from specifically trained staff.
- A leaflet campaign to properties across the county – advertising the new 0344 number and providing other useful information and contacts.
- NCC also revealed that the NSFA have identified 16 of the worst affected communities in the country (5 of which are in Mid Norfolk – including Necton, Yaxham and Mattishall) and are appointing each a ‘Tsar’ to lead on efforts to identify the issues and find solutions – ‘Tsars’ that are accountable to Lord Dannatt, the NSFA and NCC.
This is huge progress, but I also welcomed the acknowledgment that there still remains a long way to go if we are to properly grasp this issue as a county.
NCC/the NSFA are committed to using the data they are collating with partners, including Anglian Water, to inform their efforts to lobby Government for additional support and I, along with my fellow Norfolk MPs, have pledged to back that initiative and lobby in Westminster on its behalf.
I look forward to driving forward more progress in the coming weeks and months, and to providing further updates in the not too distant future.