On Friday 5 March I reconvened the annual flood meeting. Due to the extraordinary circumstances related to coronavirus, the meeting was held for the first time via a Facebook live stream, with the help of the Barn Theatre Cirencester.
There were reports from Gloucestershire County Council, Cotswold District Council, Cirencester Town Council, Parish Councils, Thames Water and the Environment Agency. Around 100 Cotswolds residents watched the live stream and submitted questions to be answered by the relevant representative spokesperson from each organisation on the panel.
The seriousness of this year’s very heavy rainfall around Christmas on already saturated ground caused significant flooding in the constituency, especially in Cirencester and Bledington. The agencies that attended the flood meeting reported on all the work they had done in the Cotswolds, both to prevent flooding and more importantly to help the households whose homes were flooded during that period.
Positive action that came out of the meeting on Friday included the plan for James Blockley, Principal Flood Risk Management Officer at Gloucestershire County Council to Chair regular meetings for all the agencies, to address flooding issues across the Cotswolds. Specifically, a long-term plan needs to be developed for Cirencester and Bledington who were badly affected by access river flows.
The rain last year was exceptional and produced a number of new and existing flood problems, however this forum has produced significant results throughout the Cotswold’s notable in Fairford, Lechlade, South Cerney, Moreton-in-Marsh, and a number of other smaller parishes. That investment in flood elevation has undoubtedly prevented many houses in the constituency from being flooded, but there is still a significant amount of work to be done and I will be actively following up on all the questions and comments that were raised during the meeting.
Plans are in place for another flooding meeting at the end of October, when the stakeholders will be invited to provide an update on the work they have achieved in the six months between the meetings.
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Click below to download a transcript (pdf) of the Cotswolds Annual Flood Forum 2021 held virtually on 5 March 2021.
Click below to download (pdf) report of the flooding across Gloucestershire on 23 and 24 December 2020 by Gloucestershire County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).