County council wants ‘more teeth’ to prevent future flood devastation in Hucknall and Bulwell

Nottinghamshire county councillors have called for greater powers to stop widespread damage from future floods.
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At least 1,259 homes and businesses flooded during Storm Babet in October – including several in Hucknall and Bulwell – almost as many as across all the nine previous years put together.

The county council is the local lead flood authority (LFA), meaning it is responsible for running flood risk management.

It is required to write a document known as a Section 19 report for each different location where flooding occurred, with recommendations to minimise flooding and damage in the future.

Flooding on Nabbs Lane, Hucknall. Photo:Nathan PayneFlooding on Nabbs Lane, Hucknall. Photo:Nathan Payne
Flooding on Nabbs Lane, Hucknall. Photo:Nathan Payne

However, it doesn’t have the power to force other councils, agencies or landowners to implement them.

Members of the council’s place committee expressed frustration as they reviewed 39 separate Section 19 reports triggered by Storm Babet, at a meeting on March 27.

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Coun Neil Clarke (Con), portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “I have been lobbying for more powers for more than a year.

"We have this title of lead local flood authority, but where’s the teeth?

"There aren’t any.

“We need the power to insist that other partners do work.”

Coun Steve Carr (Ind) said: “I despair of the situation we’re in.

“LFAs need legal power to enforce Section 19 reports.

"Until then, we will get lots of good reports but can’t force the authorities to do anything.”

All members of the committee praised council staff and volunteers for their response to the extreme weather.

Around 80mm of rain fell between October 18 and 21, overwhelming sewer systems and forcing more than 100 road closures.

Coun Sue Saddington (Con) said “Residents’ concern has turned to anger.

“This happened previously in 2000 and nothing has happened since then to stop it.

"We need to decide who’s responsible and what needs doing.”

Coun Glynn Gilfoyle (Lab) said: “This level of flooding isn’t unprecedented anymore, it’s becoming the norm, and it’s not acceptable.”

The committee was told there had been a ‘blitz’ to clean blocked road gulleys across the county since October.

The Section 19 reports from Storm Henk, which saw record rainfall in January, will be coming to the committee later this year.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has been contacted for comment.