Flooding funding comes with 'prepare yourself' message amid six-year plan

Flooding at St Neots from the air. 

Hundreds of thousands of pounds will be ploughed into areas at risk of flooding in Huntingdonshire. - Credit: Andza Alive

Hundreds of thousands of pounds will be ploughed into areas at risk of flooding in Huntingdonshire – but it will come at a cost of a wait of up to six years. 

Half a million pounds could be used to improve drains in St Neots, while Huntingdon and Alconbury could get up to £50,000 each to “prioritise” flood risk intervention. 

Brampton, the Offords, Broughton, Godmanchester, Ramsey, Sawtry and Buckden are also noted as areas in need of “flood resilience schemes”.  

However, the timescale for work to be completed is by 2027 – with residents “expected to prepare themselves mentally and physically for flooding”. 

Flooding at Alconbury Weston.

Huntingdon and Alconbury could get up to £50,000 each to “prioritise” flood risk intervention.  - Credit: Geoff Soden

County council bosses will make it clear to homeowners and businesses what they should not do to increase flood risk, including “not paving over gardens or putting fats and ‘unflushables’ such as baby wipes down the sink, drains or toilets”. 

Landowners will also be targeted to step up and tackle maintenance of ditches and watercourses. 

It comes as part of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Flood Risk Management Strategy report that will be discussed at the Environment & Green Investment Committee this week. 

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The county council will work with partners, such as Anglian Water and the Environment Agency, to “understand flood risk in Cambridgeshire, improve flood prediction, warning and recovery and help citizens to manage their own risk”. 

As part of a 122-page document, it also notes that some areas in Cambridgeshire “are the most vulnerable in the country to the ever-mounting effects of climate change.” 

Cambridgeshire County Council say the main areas of communication surrounding flooding will be:  

• Ensuring property owners are aware of their responsibility to protect themselves from identified flood risks.  

Flooding in Hunts at Christmas

This photo of Huntingdon Racecourse was taken from the air on Christmas Eve. - Credit: Geoff Soden

• Warning people of imminent flooding.  

• Highlighting the issues associated with increased hard standing and the impact this has on local risk.  

• Encouraging people to prepare themselves mentally and physically for flooding and make their homes more resilient.  

• Encouraging and supporting communities and parish councils to prepare their own emergency plans.  

• Helping people to understand what organisations and processes are currently in place to manage flood risk in their area and who to contact.  

• Making homeowners aware of the need for pipes to be connected to the right drainage systems and the flood risk and environmental issues that can occur if pipes are misconnected.  

• Being clear about things that residents, businesses, developers can do to make sure that they do not increase flood risk, such as not paving over gardens with impermeable materials or putting fats, oils, greases and other ‘unflushables’ such as baby wipes down the sink, drains or toilets.  

• An awareness raising campaign about the responsibilities of riparian owners (those owning land, which is alongside, or which contains a watercourse). 

“This will reduce the changes of flood risk being caused by blockages or a lack of care,” the report adds. 

“In Cambridgeshire, tree clippings, rubble and fly-tipping have all been dumped in watercourses from time to time.  

“Each time this happens these will significantly increase the risk of flooding for those living alongside that watercourse or within the catchment it serves.” 

The flood action plan for specific areas notes that in-depth investigations took place in St Ives and St Neots after Section 19 reports were issued at the start of this year. 

“Extensive maintenance work has been carried out following flood events,” it reads. 

“Opportunities associated with existing projects around St Neots and the potential for partnership working will be explored as a priority. 

“Initial findings highlight the need for maintenance, the potential impact of landscape management upstream and the exacerbation of the flooding caused by saturated ground [in St Ives].” 

Flood warning systems and investigations into public sewer capacity in relation to “high water levels in brooks” are also aimed to be carried out in Alconbury by 2025. 

Areas at most risk of flooding from surface water alone are noted as Huntingdon and March, in Fenland. 

More than 200 homes were wrecked during the worst floods for 20 years in the county last Christmas.