Environmental Issues

HOW TO SEEK ASSISTANCE IN THE EVENT OF FLOODING

When flooding is noticed by a resident then they need to contact  either Wokingham Borough Councils Customer Services on 0118 9746000 (Mon-Fri 08:30-17:00) or contact the Out of Hours service on  0800 212111 (Monday to Friday 17:00 to 09:00, weekend days and public holidays).  If their concerns are not urgent they can email Flooding@wokingham.gov.uk  to notify us of any problems.

When WBC are notified our contractor will attend and will take any necessary action to alleviate the flooding.  If we are unable to remove the problem then the decision will be made as to whether the road can remain open with flood warning signs erected or if the flooding is too severe the road may be closed and Road closed signs and any necessary barriers erected.  This will be monitored and signs will be removed once the flood water has abated.

NATIONAL FLOOD FORUM

The National Flood Forum are holding their biennial conference entitled ‘Are we planning to flood?’ on Wednesday 1st February 2017.  This is very timely for Wokingham and the Loddon catchment as a whole, as this region is earmarked for substantial development over the next 20 years.  For example, the borough of Wokingham has a target of building 850+ homes per year until 2036.  This is about an additional 17,000 homes.

We are all acutely aware of the flooding problems in our area and there is concern about the impact that additional development will have on local flood risk.  This conference gives you the opportunity to join the debate, hear the views of others (from both sides of the planning fence) and learn more about what constitutes success planning with beneficial flood risk management outcomes.

The venue for the conference is the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG.

For more information to go: http://www.nationalfloodforum.org.uk/nff-conference-2/

LODDON CATCHMENT FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT GROUP

The Loddon Catchment Natural Flood Risk Management Group held a workshop on 16th September 2016 and they have now published a detailed report on the proceedings.  If you would like to read the report, please click here.

EMMBROOK AREA CATCHMENT GROUP

Following on from previous meetings to set up an Emmbrook Catchment Area group to address flooding issues, the Environment Agency has appointed Becky Hibbert as the local representative to talk to local residents and groups to discuss ideas for ways to deal with the problems around the Emmbrook Walk area, in particular Matthewsgreen Road and the access to the school. Becky is asking for ideas on holding various community events to raise awareness of problems and also to find possible solutions. An informal ‘walk and talk’ along the Emm Brook watercourse has been suggested as an opportunity to identify opportunities to improve the habitat using natural management methods. Local schools will be approached with the aim of involving the children in the process.

As the ERA Committee is fully stretched dealing with other local matters, none of its members is able to take on this obviously important though very time-consuming process but, if you are interested in getting involved, we give below the contact details you will need:-

Becky Hibbert, Catchment Co-ordinator – Wey and Loddon Catchments
Email : becky.hibbert@environment-agency.gov.uk
Tel : 02030 259592
Phiala Mehring, Loddon Valley Residents Association
Email : phiala@sky.com
Tel : 07587 185736 / 0118 3484807

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES – AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM


The story below illustrates the frustration of trying to report simple environmental problems – multiple agencies passing the buck between each other, leaving a concerned resident to find a way out of the maze.

A member contacted us on 5th September to report a fallen tree branch in the Emm on The Emmbrook School side of Emmbrook Road where it crosses the brook and overgrown vegetation on the footpath alongside the brook.  She had reported this to WBC some weeks earlier but nothing had been done.  Concern was also expressed by her and other neighbours about the overgrown grass in the three fields comprising Emmbrook Walk.  We made contact with WBC on her behalf and were advised that these reports had been referred to the Cleaner and Greener team which has responsibility for these matters.  Their reply contained the advice that the overgrown footpath by the Emm has been reported to the Highways Department as some is on private and some on school land.  The Highways Dept will contact the relevant owners and instruct them to cut it back.  Regarding the fallen branch in the brook, we were told to contact the Environment Agency which maintains the brook.  The scheduled cutting of the grass in Emmbrook Walk (every six weeks during the growing season) had been disrupted by the work on the new footpath but would be back on schedule in two weeks.
These similar problems had to be dealt with by three separate agencies, teams or sections.
We duly contacted the Environment Agency and received some very detailed and useful advice on our particular problem – substantially more helpful than WBC.  This telephone number is the National Operations Services for all enquiries but our report was then passed to the section dealing with this area and, within a very short time, an acknowledgement with our relevant reference number was received, promising local investigation and prompt action.
To help you with any future problems, the relevant contact details are:-
WBC : website : www.wokingham.gov.uk  /  Tel : 0118 974 6000 / Out of hours general emergency : 0800 212 111 (Mon to Fri 5pm to 9am, weekend days & public holidays)
Environment Agency : website : www.gov.uk/environment-agency / Incident Hotline : 0800 80 70 60 (24-hour service)
FLOODING

 

If you and/or your neighbours have a problem with surface water flooding from a blocked drain or gully or an overgrown ditch and are getting no response from those who might be responsible for the relevant maintenance, e.g. Wokingham Borough Council, Thames Water etc, let us know and we’ll do our best to intervene on your behalf.  The ERA Secretary, Lesley Dow, is the person to contact and has this year managed to get the relevant authorities to carry out various investigations into the continuous flooding of a section of Old Forest Road and also to have the overgrown ditch/gully cleared to prevent a recurrence of the freak flooding off Old Forest Road in July 2008.

No Emmbrook resident could fail to be aware of the recurrent problem with flooding under the railway bridge in Emmbrook Road.  ERA has regularly attempted to get one of the agencies concerned (Wokingham Borough Council, Network Rail, Thames Water) to accept responsibility for resolving this issue, and it appears that we might now, at last, have met with some success.

Thames Water worked for six hours overnight on 17th February, clearing the blocked drain in Emmbrook Road but this had to be abandoned for lack of the correct tools.  Work recommenced overnight on 1st March, after obtaining access permission from Network Rail, when another six hours work was undertaken on the other end of the pipe at the other side of the embankment.  However, only 50% was cleared and TW needed to arrange yet another visit with different tools.  Further work was then carried out and we were advised on 12th March that a section of the pipe needs to be re-lined or replaced as this is where tree roots have broken through.  We are at present awaiting a further update and, hopefully, news on a permanent solution.

On the same subject, Wokingham Borough Council are intending to establish flood wardens in areas of the borough that experience flooding.  Although flooding is rarely a major problem in the Emmbrook area, residents might wish to consider volunteering to act as flood wardens so that we are prepared for such an event when or if it should happen.  Flood wardens work as volunteers to help in various ways including:
– raising awareness of flood risks within their community
– passing on flood warnings when they are issued
– helping the community to prepare for flooding
– assisting vulnerable people during and after a flood event.

Flood wardens may also be part of another group such as Neighbourhood Watch.  They are important members of the local community and they also play a key role in assisting the Environment Agency, Thames Water and the local council with local information on flood conditions.

If you would like further information specifically on the subject of flood wardens, please contact Francesca Hobson, who is the flood risk manager at Wokingham Borough Council.

For more general enquiries on the subject of flooding in the local area, please use this link to contact Wokingham Borough Council.