Advice from North Dorset District Council - January 2014
The recent severe wet weather presented problems for everyone in the county. Regardless of where we live and work everyone suffered in one way or another.
In North Dorset we may not have had to cope with rising tides as well as river levels but we have certainly been tested by the latter. Not only has the River Stour overflowedits banks in several locations but the Tarrant and Winterborne rivers have also caused flooding , followed by breaking springs.
Repeated battering by storm force winds have caused disruption to roads, railway lines and power cables across the district.
And when a problem becomes a crisis who should residents call? It’s not always easy to tell. So we thought it would be useful to remind everyone who is responsible for what in terms of civil contingencies.
Dorset County Council
The County Council has responsibility for roads across the county. If you need to report an incident on a public highway or call for assistance, ring Dorset Direct on 01305 221000. Your call may then be forwarded on to a relevant service provider but this should be your starting point.
The website www.dorsetforyou.com/flooding gives regular updates on all weather-affected travel in its Travel-Dorset section. You can also report problems on the roads and get bus and train updates.
Waterways are generally the responsibility of the Environment Agency. If a river, stream or rising flood is threatening your property, or you want to report a flood, call 03708 506 506.
If you want to be kept up to date with potential flood warnings then go the Environment Agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk where you will also find the all-important Floodline telephone number 0845 9881188.
www.dorsetforyou.com/flooding will also provide flood information and can signpost you to further information.
North Dorset District Council
The District Council will always try to help and signpost enquires on to the relevant agency but has little direct responsibility during times of adverse weather. We responded to numerous enquiries over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.
We also liaise with the emergency services and other relevant agencies over emergency planning issues so we are aware of situations and conditions across the district.
We provide a limited quantity of sand bags and bulk sand but we do not have a round-the clock service for this. We have delivered bulk sand and empty bags to some high-risk communities and those at risk from ground-water flooding, encouraging them to make use of the facility prior to potential flooding, prevention being better than cure.
The delivery of sand bags (either to individual households or to communities), in an emergency, is provided on behalf of the District Council by the Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) because they have the relevant resources. The DWP will use its best endeavours during flood events and it must be remembered that their resources are spread across all Dorset’s most critical locations and their travel and ability to deliver can also be disrupted.
North Dorset District Council’s contact phone number is 01258 454111. Out of hours in an emergency you should call 07774 972063.
Town & Parish Councils
The most important role of Towns and Parishes is the appointment of a Flood Warden. This person will be able to advise householders about what action to take to prevent their homes being affected by flooding. It is useful for Parish Councils to prepare a Flood Plan for emergencies and assistance with this can be requested from Roger Frost at NDDC.
Once again, prevention is better than cure, so all home owners in low lying areas, adjacent to water courses or known springs should take responsibility, make relevant precautions and contingencies for defending their property should adverse conditions persist. The Environment Agency can also provide advice.
In an emergency the only number to call is 999. However, many steps can and should be taken, before drawing on the limited and expensive resources of the emergency services.
WET WEATHER QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: Do you supply sandbags?
A: We will give advice and assistance where possible at times of flooding which, in an emergency, may include the provision of sandbags to residential properties. However, this cannot be guaranteed in the case of widespread flooding or outside of normal hours.
Q: Where can I purchase sandbags?
A: Builders merchants e.g. Travis Perkins, Blandford; Sydenhams, Gillingham; R B Snook Building Ltd, Sturminster Newton; N D Young, Okeford Fitzpaine. Please check for availability.
Q: Has there been any flooding at my property?
A: The Council does not keep definitive records of properties known to flood. However, technical staff have local knowledge with respect to areas known to flood and the Environment Agency do keep records. Contact the Environment Agency on 03708 506 506.
Q: The road is flooded, is it North Dorset District Council's responsibility?
A: Dorset County Council is the highway authority responsible for road drainage.
Q: Whose responsibility is it to keep ditches and streams clear?
A: Whoever owns the land where a ditch or stream is present is responsible for maintaining the bed and banks to allow a free flow of water.
Q: My drain/sewer is blocked, can you clear it?
A: Wessex Water is responsible for the main sewers. Contact 0845 600 4 600 (Mon-Fri, 8am to 6pm, emergency service at other times) or email email@example.com
Q: Can I pipe my ditch?
A: Land Drainage consent is required from Dorset County Council before any ditch or stream is piped.
Q: I have a spring in my property can you give me advice?
A: We are not able to deal with springs but can offer technical advice as can the Environment Agency.
Q: Where can I get advice about flooding?
A: NDDC can offer advice to house owners about flooding. Alternatively, look at the website www.dorsetforyou.com/flooding . The Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk is also able to offer advice and can supply information leaflets on flooding matters, particularly “Flooding: Advice for the Public” which is produced with Public Health England.