Flooding — Summer 2007
Torrential downpours in May, June and July 2007 left large swathes of the country under water as the rain was followed by widespread flooding. By accurately forecasting the weather, the Met Office kept people informed on what they could expect.
Unsettled conditions dominated the Bank Holiday in early May, bringing rain and showers to many parts of the country. For the following Bank Holiday there was heavy rain. After a reasonably dry start to June, extremely heavy and prolonged rain fell on to an already soggy UK, leading to serious floods which threatened lives and caused substantial damage to property. Tragically some people died and thousands more had to spend nights in temporary accommodation or were left without power.
Part of the reason for the heavy rain was the jet stream - a band of strong winds in the upper atmosphere that influence how weather systems that bring rain to the UK will develop. As the jet stream was stronger than normal, depressions near the UK were more intense. Some of these depressions pulled in the very warm and moist air to the south of the UK, generating exceptionally heavy and intense rainfall.
What we did
- We played a vital role throughout the summer, providing highly accurate forecasts and warnings ahead of the heavy rains.
- Before and during the floods we worked with and advised emergency planners across the UK including the police and military rescue teams, the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and COBR (the Civil contingencies committee which leads responses to national crises).
- We issued early warnings of the severe weather several days ahead to advise the public on the possible impacts.
- As more heavy rain fell on already flood-hit areas, we kept everyone informed as the downpours deposited well over three times the monthly average rainfall for June in some places.
- While it is not easy to forecast extreme weather, the heavy rain was well forecast, with Met Office forecasters predicting the heavy and prolonged rainfall.
- There is no doubt that things would have been much worse without early warnings from the Met Office.
What happened in June
On Monday 25 June prolonged heavy rainfall resulted in many parts of north and east England being flooded.
|17 to 20 June||Localised torrential downpours continued with many Flash warnings issued.|
|21 June||News Release issued to highlight unseasonable weather.|
|22 June||Early Warning issued to public, government and emergency services giving three days' notice of potential disruption.|
|23 June||Further warnings and update to Early Warning issued for E/NE England.|
|24 June||Early Warning updated with highest probabilities for disruption in an arc from Yorkshire and Humberside to the Welsh Borders, with rainfall totals of 'up to 100 mm or so'.|
|25 June||Flash warnings issued for heavy and persistent rain across the high risk areas during the day.|
Days before the actual flooding, the ground around the worst-hit areas became saturated by very heavy rain. Many sites in Yorkshire received at least a month's rainfall in 24 hours.
On Monday 25 June a slow-moving area of low pressure brought a prolonged period of heavy rain to northern and central England. Hitting the already saturated north-east, the water had nowhere else to go and, as a result, led to major flooding.
- Five people died.
- Surface water flooding in Hull.
- Widespread disruption and damage to more than 7,000 houses and 1,300 businesses in Hull.
- River Don burst its banks, flooding Sheffield and Doncaster.
- Flooding in Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Worcestershire.
- Highest official rainfall total was 111 mm at Fylingdales (N Yorkshire). Amateur networks recorded similar totals in the Hull area.
- There were fears that the dam wall at the Ulley Reservoir near Rotherham would burst.
A heightened alert state was retained during the week 25-30 June, because of the threat of further rain.
What happened in July
The second event caused localised flash flooding across parts of southern England on the morning of 20 July, and later in the day across the Midlands.
|16 July||Medium-range computer forecast suggests a vigorous weather system could move toward the UK and engage with relatively warm air over northern France.Met Office Executive Board briefed about the chances of this event.|
|18 July||Early Warning issued in the morning, central and eastern areas of England at risk of disruption from 60-90 mm of rain.|
|19 July||Risk areas narrowed to south-west Midlands, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. Possible rainfall total increased to 75-100 mm.|
|20 July||Flash warnings for southern and central England issued before 9 a.m.|
A slow-moving depression centred over south-east England, drawing warm moist air from the continent across the UK. Heavy and slow moving rainfall moved northwards during the day.
- Widespread disruption to the motorway and rail networks.
- In the following days the River Severn and tributaries in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire broke banks and flooded surrounding areas.
- River Thames and its tributaries in Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey flooded.
- Flooding in Telford and Wrekin, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Birmingham.
- The highest recorded rainfall total was 157.4 mm in 48 hours at Pershore College (Worcestershire).
- In August, Sir Michael Pitt conducted an independent review of the flooding. The review recognised our forecasts and warnings had been timely and accurate and also praised the performance of our Public Weather Service Advisors.
- A key recommendation of the Pitt review, after the floods of summer 2007, was that the Environment Agency and the Met Office should work together, through a joint Flood Forecasting Centre , to improve the capability to forecast, model and warn against flooding.
- Developments in Met Office capability such as 1.5 km resolution models and probabilistic forecasts will help the UK to be more resilient to severe weather.
Last updated Saturday 18 August 2007
FLOOD RELIEF FUND: So far over £600,000 has been raised through the generous support of public and business donations. The flood relief fund now has a dedicated website, click on the below to see it:
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BBC Good Neighbour Scheme
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News updates before w/b Mon 13 August 2007
SEVERN TRENT: With water supplies now fully back to normal, Severn Trent has thanked the communities across Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and the surrounding villages for their support and patience during what has been the largest incident of its kind experienced by any water company in the UK. Tony Wray, Severn Trent Water's managing director, said:
"Thank you so much for your co-operation and patience in extremely difficult and trying circumstances. We at Severn Trent recognise that many communities in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire have suffered significantly during this period. Therefore we have decided to make available up to ?3.5 million to support those communities in recovering from this incident. Severn Trent will be working with the local authorities to determine how to make best use of this money. We believe that a contribution such as this will be of long term benefit to all in the community. This whole incident has been unprecedented. The scale of this operation went far beyond our previous experience, or indeed that of any other water company.
During the 17 days since Mythe was forced out of action by the floods Severn Trent has:
- purchased and made available more than 50 million litres of bottled water
- deployed more than 1300 water bowsers and more than 100 tankers to refill them.
- had more than 2000 Severn Trent staff and contractors working 24 hours a day on the incident
- purchased and installed additional emergency flood defences at Mythe water treatment works.
Severn Trent’s current estimate of the costs of dealing with the incident is in the range of ?25 million to ?35 million, partially offset by insurance of between ?10 million to ?20 million. These figures are likely to be revised in the coming weeks as the full extent of costs becomes clearer. Tony concluded:
"The priority for Severn Trent was always the provision of alternative sources of water and the return of normal water and sewerage services which we have now done. Throughout the entire incident we have had the organised backing and practical support from the emergency services and other agencies at Gold Command, all of which provided tremendous support at a time when our own resources were fully committed. We wish to pay tribute to all those who helped us keep emergency water supplies flowing."
TAP WATER SAFE TO DRINK: Severn Trent has just announced that tap water is now safe to drink for the 140,000 homes that had their supplies interrupted when Mythe water treatment works was flooded.
Results from intensive quality sampling and testing confirm that restored tap water supplies meet all the strict quality standards set by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI).
This means that people no longer need to boil tap water before drinking it. Tony Wray, Severn Trent Water's managing director, explained:
"The intensive programme of sampling and testing has confirmed that restored tap water supplies are once again completely safe to drink. Tap water can now be used for cleaning teeth, washing dishes, preparing food and infant formula and ice-making. We had to be 100 per cent certain that all supplies were back up to the normal high standards before we could remove the 'boil tap water' instruction.
"This whole incident has been unprecedented and we recognise the immense inconvenience that so many of our customers have faced during the last two weeks. We greatly admire everyone's resilience and the neighbourly spirit that has been evident throughout and want to thank them for their patience and tolerance of the situation," added Tony.
Supplies of bottled water will remain available until the incident closes but the majority of bowsers have been withdrawn.
COTSWOLD LEISURE CENTRE: Up to three quarters of the electrical and mechanical equipment at the Cotswold Leisure Centre in Cirencester will have to be replaced, following major flooding in the building's plant room. 70,000 gallons of water had to be pumped out of the basement after the unprecedented amounts of rainfall last month.
COST OF FLOODING: It'll cost an estimated fifty million pounds to get Gloucestershire up and running again after recent flooding. As official control of the crisis is handed over to the county council - marking an end to the emergency response - members warn it could still be a long road to recovery. Gloucestershire Recovery Group will work alongside health and voluntary agencies to rebuild homes, roads, schools and businesses in the region.
STAVERTON AIRPORT: A runway at Staverton Airport has been closed off, so Severn Trent can use the space to store empty water bowsers. One of the hangars has also been commandeered to help house nearly fifteen hundred of the plastic water tanks. The airport's being used as a holding depot before Severn Trent send all the bowsers back to where they came from.
Official end of the emergency: Gloucestershire's flood response has now moved into a new phase. Gloucestershire County Council has now taken over control of the recovery programme. Gold Command, based at Gloucestershire Police Headquarters in Quedgeley, which managed the emergency response for the last two weeks, handed over control to the Gloucestershire Recovery Group at 3pm today (Monday 6th). The handover marks the official end of the emergency response period.
A Severn Trent spokesman says we should be able to drink water direct from the tap sometime next week. At the moment the advice is that you can drink the water from the tap or bowsers, but you must boil it first.
Following the burst water pipe near to GCHQ in Cheltenham yesterday (Saturday), and the subsequent loss of water in some parts of Cheltenham and Gloucester, all but twenty homes have had their water supply restored. (Ten thousand homes were affected in Benhall, Brockworth, Upton, Fox Elms and Matson).
140,000 homes have been without clean water for nearly two weeks, but with the return to normality hopefully not far away, bowsers are now beginning to be withdrawn from the streets of Gloucestershire. Those still holding water will be left for longer so that they can be moved once they've been emptied.
FLOOD RELIEF FUND: Tewkesbury Borough Council has issued details of how to apply for the Gloucestershire Flood Relief Fund. The forms are available on the council's website (www.tewkesburybc.gov.uk) and are for Gloucestershire residents whose homes have been flooded by the July 2007 floods and who have suffered hardship as a result.
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SEVERN TRENT WATER: The Director of Severn Trent Water - Martin Kane - joined Mark Cummings on Friday's Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Gloucestershire and answered many of the questions we have been receiving over the past week. To listen to the whole interview again, click on the link on the right hand of this page.
LESSONS LEARNT: The emergency services, Severn Trent and other organisations will soon begin the process of assessing the lessons learnt from the floods crisis. They'll look at how they responded to the emergency and how rising water came to threaten utilities in the first place.
FLOOD QUESTIONS: The Environment Agency is inviting people living in areas affected by the recent floods to come to one of the drop in sessions being held across Gloucestershire. Staff will be on hand to answer questions covering the flooding, the clean-up operation and future plans to manage flood risk in their area. The EA is also inviting other agencies to take part so that, together, as much information as possible will be provided to local residents.
FLOOD FUND NEARS £350,000: A huge fundraising drive to help county flood victims is close to the £350,000 mark. Launched last Friday by the Mayors of Tewkesbury and Gloucester it will make money available to all parts of the county affected by last week's floods. Cheques made payable to "Gloucestershire Flood Relief Fund" can be taken or posted to any UK branch of HSBC, C&G or the Chelsea Building Society. Donors with internet banking can make a direct transfer. The sort code is 40-22-09 and the account number is 82191385. For more details click on the link below.
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BOGUS CALLERS: Severn Trent continues to remind all customers, especially the elderly, to be aware of the heightened risk of bogus callers. If someone is asking to come into your home, saying they are on water business, you must ask to see ID and check that they are a genuine Severn Trent worker. Please check with us to confirm the identity of the caller if you are in any doubt, for example by calling our freephone number on 0800 783 4444. Genuine Severn Trent employees won't mind waiting while these checks are carried out.
FLOOD DEFENCES: Gloucestershire Constabulary is keen to reassure members of the public that temporary flood barriers are only being removed at Mythe because more permanent defences have been put in place. Acting Assistant Chief Constable Steve Ackland said: "The defences that are being removed are the temporary emergency barriers put in place at the beginning of this crisis. I can reassure members of the public that these have now been replaced by more substantial structures which were installed following the forecast for heavy rain last weekend. These will remain in place until a more permanent solution is found."
GOOD NEIGHBOUR SCHEME: In the aftermath of the flood crisis, BBC Gloucestershire is inviting people to donate their skills and time to help victims of the disaster. The BBC Radio Gloucestershire Good Neighbour Scheme has been launched in association with Gloucester Time Bank to link up people who have time and practical skills they are willing to share with flood victims who could benefit from them. For more information call the CSV Action Desk on 01452 331133 or click on the link below.
BBC Good Neighbour Scheme
SEVERN TRENT WATER: 140,000 properties served by Severn Trent in and around Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury are now reconnected to running mains water. Martin Kane, Severn Trent's director of customer services, said: "All customers affected by the shut down of Mythe water treatment works now have a supply. However, some customers at the edge of the network served by Mythe may be suffering some interruptions or low water pressure. Anyone concerned about this problem should call us on 0800 783 4444.
SAFE WATER: Martin Kane, Severn Trent's director of customer services said: "We must continue to remind customers that any restored supplies must not be used for drinking, even after boiling. But it's perfectly safe to use for showering, bathing, flushing toilets and washing clothes. Meanwhile, we are sampling tap water intensively over the weekend and beyond to ensure we can get customers back onto a drinkable supply as soon as possible next week. Water for drinking will still be widely available from bowsers and bottled water distribution points and we will guarantee availability of millions litres of bottled water every day for as long as the incident continues.
TEWKESBURY: Businesses in flood hit Tewkesbury are returning to normal - but they need people to visit. The town was one of the worst hit place in the county and got the nickname 'the isle of Tewkesbury', but the national attention and the fact it was cut off has put some visitors off coming to the town.
GLOUCESTER: The city council is also highlighting that Gloucester is back in business and hosting three festivals - The Three Choirs Festival, Gloucester International Blues Festival and the city's own summer festival with its Firework Finale in Gloucester Park on Saturday. Most city centre shops, hotels and restaurants and all the city museums and attractions are now open.
THANK YOU: Speaking on BBC Radio Gloucestershire's Wednesday Breakfast Show Fraser Pithie from Severn Trent Water said: "Can I thank the community for what they have put up with over the past week - all the volunteers and everyone across Gloucestershire who have done so much to support one another and Severn Trent in what has been one of the most difficult times we have ever faced. We could not have done it without the support of the community across Gloucestershire."
Severn Trent will tell customers BY THEIR POSTCODE when water is once again safe to drink - and details will appear ON THIS WEBSITE.
REPORTING WATER LEAKS: Severn Trent is finding that as the water is coming back on, there have been a few burst water pipes causing enormous leaks in the system. Members of the public who have come across these leaks have been calling 999 - the message is DON'T! It won't be the emergency services who deal with this, it's Severn Trent. The correct number to call to report a burst pipe is Severn Trent on 0800 783 4444.
* IMPORTANT WATER RECONNECTION NEWS *
Do NOT drink the tap water even after boiling it
Do NOT use the water for food preparation or washing dishes - even after boiling
Do NOT use the water for ice-making
Do NOT use the water for cleaning your teeth
Do NOT use the water for making baby feeds
Reconnected tap water CAN ONLY be used for flushing toilets, bathing and showering, and washing clothes.
Bottled water or boiled bowser water remains the ONLY safe source of drinking water until further notice. You will be informed when tap water is safe to drink.
RUGBY FESTIVAL FOR FLOOD VICTIMS: Gloucester RFC is taking part in a festival to raise money for the victims of the flooding crisis. They are being joined by Worcester Warriors, from another city seriously affected by the recent bad weather. Details of the festival of rugby will be released over the next week but the mayor's offices of both Gloucester and Worcester will be asked to help administer the cash raised. To start off the fund a sum of £30,000 has been joint donated by the two clubs. Gloucester's owner and chairman Tom Walkinshaw says they had to do something to help.
RED CROSS EFFORT GOES ON: The biggest Red Cross peace-time operation since the end of the second world war is set to continue for another two weeks. The charity which has had help from over 100 volunteers has been using 20 4X4 vehicles to help deliver 200,000 litres of water and 8,000 toilet kits to the vulnerable here in Gloucestershire. Paul Geoffrey, volunteer chairman, says it's important the Red Cross efforts continue as there are many elderly, disabled and other people in need who cannot go out to obtain water and other supplies will need support until their water is back to normal.
RECYCLE YOUR PLASTIC BOTTLES: People who have been getting water from the free bottled supply are being asked to take them back to the same distribution point so they can be recycled. Severn Trent Water will return bottles to Staverton for bulking and crushing. Links have been made with the local authority recycling systems to ensure all plastic is recycled and not landfilled. People can also recycle their plastic bottles at regular plastic bottle recycling banks across the county. These banks will be emptied more regularly than usual to cope with the huge demand. To find the location of temporary and regular plastic recycling banks, check out www.recycleforgloucestershire.com.
Gloucester City Council says it's working flat out to recycle all the empty plastic bottles being brought back to its water distribution sites. It is now asking consumers to make sure the water bottles are crushed and to keep hold of them for as long as possible. Full details about plastic bottle recycling can be found at www.recycleforgloucestershire.com
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APPEAL RAISES OVER £7000: Cirencester Rotary Club organised a street collection in Cirencester for the victims of the recent floods in Gloucestershire and a magnificent £7160.58 was raised with more money coming in each day. Rotary President elect Robin Levin said "We have been delighted by the success of the appeal, amazed by the generosity of individual contributors and the help provided by spouses, Inner Wheel and Soroptomists was much appreciated. We are also grateful for the rapid response of Cotswold District Council, Tesco and Waitrose in allowing the collections at very short notice". A report on the final sum collected and how it is spent will be made public at a later date.
Bogus callers alert
Andy Smith, Severn Trent's director of water services, is warning of the risk of bogus callers. He said: "We do have extra numbers of inspectors out checking the water supplies and pipe networks, but this means that customers should be very aware that this carries a higher risk of bogus callers, where con men pose as water officials.
"If anyone calls to your house saying they are from the water company you must ask to see ID. All genuine Severn Trent workers carry ID and will be happy to wait outside while you confirm their identity. If there is any doubt who the caller is KEEP THEM OUT. Ring us on our customer call line 0800 783 4444 to check that they are who they claim to be or even ring the police (for non-life-threatening flood related incidents call 0800 092 0410 and not 0845 090 1234, the usual police number).
"We very much appreciate everyone's patience and good spirits and can reassure them that we will continue working round-the-clock to restore water supplies," added Andy.
ROYAL VISITS: Victims of Gloucestershire's floods and emergency crews had two Royal visitors on Friday. Prince Charles has visited Tewkesbury's Priors Park where he and his wife Camilla have met those affected by the floods in the town. Princess Anne was in Gloucester to meet businesses and homeowners flooded earlier this week. She first visited three businesses in Hempstad seeing three businesses badly affected by the water, and then she went to Cypress Gardens in Longlevens, a neighbourhood hit twice within a month by the brook bursting its banks.
CLEAN UP COST: The cost of Gloucestershire's clear up is put between £40m and £50m. That figure includes the £25m estimated to be spent repairing the county's roads. The county council have identified 100 sites that need major work, and the initial estimate equates to the entire road maintainance budget for the next 12 months.
CENTRAL NETWORK: Vital electricity safety advice for customers returning to flooded homes. Central Networks is urging homeowners affected by the recent floods to follow important safety advice. If homes and businesses have been flooded, the internal wiring needs to be thoroughly checked by an expert, once the water has receded. If your property has been flooded, customers are advised to follow the electricity safety steps:
Check your internal wiring
• Regardless of whether your power has been switched on or off while your property has been flooded, customers need to get their internal wiring checked by an approved electrician. This is especially important where flood water has been above the level of electrical equipment within the property;
• You will need to ensure you use a qualified electrician. Please check the local Yellow Pages for an approved electrician and ensure they are ‘Part P – Buildings Regulations’ registered if they need to replace internal wiring;
• Customers should avoid touching electrical equipment that has been in contact with water and avoid plugging it in until it has been inspected by an electrician;
Mains electricity supply
• Central Networks may need to check the incoming electricity supply in homes which have been flooded;
• Our engineers will be working in the areas of flooding to complete these checks once the water levels have receded;
• Please advise your neighbours who have not returned to a property which was flooded that Central Networks may require access to carry out this safety check;
• If Central Networks’ mains equipment has been damaged by the flood waters, we may need to do some repair work which could result in a short power interruption to neighbouring homes. We will do everything we can to keep any disruption to a minimum.
• If your meter has been underwater or damaged by the flood waters you need to get it checked by your electricity supplier. A representative from your supplier will inspect the meter. Please check your latest electricity bill to find out who your supplier is.
• If you need further information or advice, please call our Emergency Helpline on 0800 096 1194;
• If you are a single property still without an electricity supply, please call the same number to report the power loss and receive safety advice.
During the next few days, Central Networks representatives will be visiting the affected areas to offer advice and guidance to people returning to their homes.
now open Monday to Friday 8am – 5 pm and 8am – 4pm during the weekend.
WATER USE: Gloucestershire's Chief Constable, Dr Tim Brain confirmed that the water being delivered daily into Gloucestershire either in bottles or for bowser use was only a fraction of the usual daily ueage. The 6 million litres being distributed is only 5% of the 120 million litres normally pumped through the direct water supply system.
CHELTENHAM ANIMAL SHELTER is thanking all the individuals and companies that have rallied around to donate water and blankets to Cheltenham Animal Shelter over the past week. The Shelter itself has not been flooded, but staff have been working round the clock rescuing animals from flooded homes and other boarding kennels and catteries that have been flooded. They now have enough blankets to see them through the next week, and have plenty of containers to be able to collect water for the animals. If you would still like to donate to the Shelter, cash donations are very much appreciated. This money will go towards the costs associated with rescues that have taken place and the purchase of water rescue equipment. Donations can be made securely online at www.gawa.org.uk or in person at Cheltenham Animal Shelter, Gardener's Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 9JW.
TAX: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced measures to help people, affected by the floods, pay their tax bills. Revenue and Customs will be able to waive interest and surcharges on tax paid late due to the floods. Customers are being asked to let the their tax office know as soon as possible, whether they've been affected.
INQUIRY: A parliamentary inquiry is to be held into the flooding which has devastated Gloucestershire. It will be carried out by the Commons Environment Committee. Its chairman - the Conservative MP Michael Jack - says he thinks the government should already be spending more on drainage:
ROYAL AID: The Queen has made a private donation to the Red Cross Appeal for those affected by the floods. She is Patron of the Red Cross. It's also been announced that The Prince of Wales will visit flood victims in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire on Friday. On Wednesday The Queen sent a message of sympathy to those affected by the severe floods of the past week. It reads: "I have been shocked by the news and pictures of the devastation caused by the severe flooding across the country. My thoughts are with those who have lost family or friends, whose homes or livelihoods have been damaged, and all those who have been displaced by these events. May I also express my admiration for the emergency services, the local authorities and volunteers working tirelessly to help those affected. To everyone concerned with the relief efforts I send my heartfelt thanks."
PM'S PROMISE: The Prime Minister, on his second visit to flood striken Gloucestershire, has thrown his weight behind the flood relief effort. On his arrival at Gold Command in Waterwells on Wednesday he was told drinking water was still in short supply. Phone calls were immediately made to the Civil Contingency Unit in London and Mr Brown afterwards promised far more water deliveries and as many as 900 more bowsers on the streets. Although bowsers - which hold gallons of fresh water for households - have been made available on streets across the county, they often empty out very quickly. Severn Trent say they are aiming to refill them four or five times a day but this has proved difficult.
FLOOD DEFENCES STRENGTHENED: Work has begun on a more permanent barrier of rubble and sand around the Walham electricity sub-station just west of Gloucester. The aluminium barriers put up on Sunday have been taken down and replaced by a semi permanent barrier. Reinforcements will also be put in place at the Castlemead sub-station - which also proved vulnerable to flood water at the weekend - and the Mythe water treatment plant in Tewkesbury.
CASH AID FOR BUSINESS: The South West Regional Development Agency is making up to £2 million available to help support those businesses hit by the current flooding in Gloucestershire. The money will provide support to both small and medium sized companies to implement recovery plans.
POLICE URGE PATIENCE: Chief Constable Dr Tim Brain has urged people to exercise restraint and patience when queueing for water. He admitted that the police had received reports of disorder and what he called "selfish behaviour". Dr Brain said they were aware of the distribution and replenishment problem with the bowsers and were working with Severn Trent and the military to improve that.
AID FOR SCHOOLS: Gloucestershire schools hit by the floods could gain from a £4million government flood relief package. Schools minister Ed Balls announced the cash for schools hit by flooding over the past few days. It comes on top of the £10m already up for grabs after similar flooding in Yorkshire, Humberside and the West Midlands. “It is far too early to have a comprehensive assessment but it is clear that areas flooded since last Friday and still under water are dealing with a number of damaged schools and children’s services – with some who could be teaching in temporary accommodation well into the September term," he said.
BUSINESS AID: Small businesses affected by the flooding are being offered short term, interest free loans of up to 5-thousand pounds. The Federation of Small Businesses has established a half million pound fund to help businesses across the county survive over the next few weeks while they're seeking other funding. Paul Gough of the Federation says the scale of the problem across the county is severe.
FIRE SERVICE: The strain on Gloucestershire's Fire Service has been described as "unprecedented" by the Fire Brigades Union. Around a quarter of the number of calls expected in a year were received in just 48 hours. The FBU says members have dealt with flooding hell. The emergency control centre took more than 2,000 in two days. Annually they deal with between 8,000 and 9,000. Hundreds of people have been rescued and 22 high volume pumps have come from all over the country, brought by firefighters from as far afield as Cumbria. An FBU spokesman says there will still be many challenging days ahead, but he wanted to add reassurance saying the local emergency services will always be here to help.