The Civil Contingencies Unit has successfully delivered a project for Staffordshire County Council (SCC) to develop a Community Flood Resilience scheme, through the application of best practice from the recent nationwide Defra Community Flood Resilience Pathfinders.
The Defra Community Flood Resilience Pathfinders (2013-15) placed an emphasis on the community being at the heart of awareness, preparedness and response and so developing and encouraging this was the main focus of the campaign.
In Staffordshire, the town of Burton upon Trent, is at significant risk of residual fluvial flooding from the River Trent, surface water flooding and flooding as a result of culverted watercourses. In addition the messages that the project disseminated to the communities in Burton had to be done in conjunction with the Environment Agency (EA), as they are improving the flood defences in the town from 2019.
The map below shows flood zones 2 and 3 in Burton town that have been targeted by this project. The Environment Agency have stated that there are approx. 11,000 addresses that are at risk from flooding in Burton.
Map 1. Flood Zones 2 and 3 – Burton:
The aim of this project is to ensure that the most at risk communities and businesses in Burton are aware and prepared in the event of a flood as well as being able to access the relevant support required, before, during and after a flooding event. The work completed in Burton to help deliver this message and build community resilience is detailed below.
Burton Be Prepared Leaflets
A range of leaflets (3 MB) have been designed, containing a range of information to inform residents in Burton how to prepare and be more resilient against flooding.
Drop in event for local Burton community groups
A drop in event at Burton Town Hall was arranged for local community groups to gain information about the help that is currently available in Burton to enable communities to become more resilient against flooding, helping reduce the risk to people and properties if a flood occurred.
The agencies that were in attendance to help deliver this message were:
- Civil Contingencies Unit
- Staffordshire County Council flood management team
- Environment Agency
- National Flood Forum
- Red Cross
- Lakeside Flood Solutions
Burton Market Square
A public facing event in Burton Market Square was held to distribute the key information about how to be prepared for flooding for the residents in Burton. Very useful and informative conversations were held with a range of residents from across Burton, all of which agreed that this is an important message which the community of Burton need to know about.
Flood resilience sessions at Paget school
Staff from CCU and the Environment Agency worked together to deliver a 1 hour flood resilience session to 136 year 7 students over 2 days.
Burton upon Trent is a town at risk of flooding; while the existing flood defences protect the town, the Environment Agency is spending £17million to upgrade, Paget High school being in one of these areas.
By helping young people become aware of the risk of flooding and the devastating effect it can have on a community we are enabling them to be able to prepare themselves and their family should flooding happen.
The materials used include the Flood Snakes and Ladders Game, developed by Lancaster University working with young people who have been flooded, giving them a voice to share their experiences and help others - as part of the CUIDAR European Project. This game uses research material gathered with children and young people who were directly affected by flooding in England. The Interactive Snakes and Ladders game uses words, pictures and models from the young people.
All students really enjoyed the session and were able to explain how they would feel if they were involved in a flood, why flooding can be so dangerous and a number of ways that communities can prepare for the event of a flood.
They all completed a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the session to show what they had learnt; here are some of the results:
- Before the session 29% of pupils were able to check if they live in an area at risk from flooding; at the end of the session this had risen to 92% of pupils
- Before the session 14% of pupils were aware of what a grab bag is; after the session this had risen to 94%
- 92% of pupils are now able to name 3 ways to be prepared before a flood event
- 100% of pupils are now able to explain why flood water is dangerous
Safe and Well
A pilot has been launched in conjunction with Burton Fire station, to include flood resilience awareness into their Safe and Well visits.
During the visit, those residents that live in an at risk area will be asked if they wish to be signed up to a flood alert/warning service and if so help them complete this. In addition they will be given a project leaflet which contains information of other ways to be prepared before, during and after a flood event, as well as useful contact numbers.
The Duke of Cornwall Award
A launch event for uniformed service groups to attend to start delivering The Duke of Cornwall Award to their members in Burton is being planned for August 2018. The award has 3 stages and can be completed by any young person between the ages of 6-18 who are a member of a uniformed services group.
A letter drop to the most at risk addresses (in the EA flood warning areas) is planned in Burton to give these residents and businesses key information about how to check their risk, sign up for flood alerts/warnings, useful contacts and advice for before, during and after a flood event.
The activities above can be used in other areas of Staffordshire to improve community flood resilience. If you would like further information on how to action this in your community, please contact us.