Following the flooding in the constituency over the festive period, particularly in March, Coates, and Tydd St Giles, I chaired a meeting of the local agencies involved in water management on Friday to discuss what happened and to find ways to make improvements. The flooding review including representatives from Anglian Water, Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council, and the Mid Level Commissioners and I am grateful for the collaborative and constructive approach they all took.
Anyone can see from the news that more extreme weather instances, such as the heavy rainfall locally over Christmas and nationally last week, are occurring more frequently across the country. However, that’s no consolation for the residents who spent the festive period cleaning out flooded homes. Friday's meeting was designed to bring together representatives to look at how organisations can better work together on infrastructure improvements and provide greater transparency to each other and residents about what’s being done.
Some of the issues discussed included current known areas for flooding and the reasons why (such as Morton Avenue where flooding problems have continued for a number of years), potential funding options to prevent future flooding in known hotspots, and any short-term fixes and maintenance issues that could be overcome. The agencies represented agreed to a number of actions, including a review of any outstanding maintenance work which Fenland Council will collate including where residents have extended gardens by filling in drainage ditches, an investigation into the specific local flooding over Christmas which Cambridgeshire County Council hope to conclude by Easter (known as a section 19 investigation), to share the investigation into specific homes that flooded which Anglian Water is undertaking (including for Morton Avenue where a number of challenges have been identified but also for example Coates where the pumping station was overwhelmed), and to submit requests for funding to the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.
I know there is also an extraordinary meeting of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Flood and Water Partnership early next month to look at this further and I will follow up again with local agencies in the weeks ahead.