In response to strong public demand for further support to communities during flooding and other emergencies, the Cotswold District Council Cabinet is considering an allocation of a further £500,000 for flood alleviation in its draft Medium Term Financial Plan for 2010/11. This extra funding would be in addition to the existing commitment to flood mitigation projects at Bourton-on-the-Water and Moreton-in-Marsh.

Cotswold District Council leader Lynden Stowe commented: “In these difficult financial times, I hope this shows the absolute commitment of CDC to help develop flood defences in those settlements most affected in the July 2007 floods.”

The proposals are outlined in a report being considered by Cabinet on 17 December, which recommends the acceleration of the planned modelling and feasibility studies programme at Blockley, Chipping Campden, Cirencester – Watermoor, Lechlade, Lower Slaughter, Naunton, Northleach, Poulton, Weston-Sub Edge, Whelford and Willersey.

In most settlements it is essential that these studies are carried out before improvements are undertaken. Modelling ensures that the planned works improve land drainage and do not actually worsen the problem or contribute to flooding elsewhere. Feasibility studies consider the costs and benefits of any planned scheme. Under the national Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) flood mitigation funding programme, these studies could not have been progressed in many flood-affected communities for a number of years. However, the Council believes that action is needed much sooner to mitigate the risks of a repeat of the widespread flooding which wreaked havoc in Gloucestershire during July 2007.

Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, Councillor Barry Gibbs said:

“We have now reached the stage where a number of modelling studies have been completed which show us the patterns of flooding in various conditions and recommendations for future alleviation. We now need to move onto the feasibility studies for these priority settlements as soon as possible, so we can accurately assess where land drainage works are required. The Council is committed to ensuring that, where significant benefits can be achieved in flood alleviation, it will support and, where appropriate, jointly fund these essential works for the benefit of Cotswold communities. This is why we are allocating this extra funding over and above that available from DEFRA, who are working through a 5-year funding programme.”

Councillor Gibbs noted that surveys and modelling in some communities offered no engineering solutions to support resilience actions and commented: “In those areas, we will continue to support resilience actions and also work with landowners who border streams to undertake necessary watercourse maintenance so that we can maximise the efficiency of land drainage systems”.

The Council will be contacting flood affected communities in the next few weeks and updating them on its planned involvement in flood alleviation in their town or village.

Source: Cotswold District Council