Panel is grilled at flood-risk meeting

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NEEDHAM Market Community Centre hosted a heated public meeting into the floods which hit the town in May.

Representatives from the Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership –which includes Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, the Environment Agency, Anglia Water and the Highways Agency – spoke to residents about the causes of the floods on May 3 and what is being done to prevent it happening again.

More than 80 people turned up to last Thursday’s meeting, which was chaired by Cllr Roy Barker, of Mid Suffolk District Council.

But many in the audience were not happy with the reasons the panel gave for the floods and were concerned that the agencies involved did not know the true extent of the damage caused.

Steve Pinion, district emergency planning officer for Babergh and Mid Suffolk, said the flooding had caught the agencies out.

He said: “It was a very unusual event that happened but one that I am sure we will have to get used to in the future. It is fair to say it caught us all out.”

David Kemp, of the Environment Agency’s flood resilience team, said the flooding was caused by several factors.

He said: “The reasons for the flooding are incredibly complex. First we have three branches of the river and all the water courses joining it.

“Then we have the problem of surface water run off.

“We had 160mm of rain in April when we would normally expect around 43mm.

“In the early hours of May 3 we had 32mm of rain – that isnt unusual but it was on already soaked ground.

“The water falls down and starts to flood the roads, this water makes it way to the river and that starts to rise.”

The panel spoke to residents prior to the meeting about what they can do in the future limit the risks of flood damage.