Editor's Comment: We need action, not words on flooding in Hunts
- Credit: Peter Hagger
Many of our roads, meadows, fields, car parks and roads remain flooded. We know the rainfall on December 23, last year, was almost three times the monthly average for December and this caused widespread problems to properties, land and the public highway.
But the disruption and inconvenience of having to change travel plans, or take a detour to avoid flooded roads, doesn't in any way compare to the utter devastation for individuals and families whose homes and possessions have been ruined by flood water.
There is no short-term solution or easy clean-up. It takes months for the walls and floors of homes and buildings to dry out and become habitable again.
Many years ago, as a junior reporter, I visited a family in Alconbury whose home had been flooded. They had to leave in a hurry in the middle of the night as the water levels rose suddenly.
They took care to put treasured photo albums up high - on top of the fridge freezer in the kitchen. When they returned to the house, they discovered the force of the water had upended the appliance and the photos were floating around in the murky, stinking water. It was heartbreaking.
Cambridgeshire County Council admits it has received hundreds of reports of flooding (see Page 11 of this week's Hunts Post) which it describes as "an unprecedented volume of incidents to investigate".
It also says gully cleaning across Cambridgeshire is to be “substantially increased” as an early response and it will be working with people who filed complaints to identify “poorly maintained watercourses”.
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I hope this is some consolation to those who were forced to bale water out of their homes in December while the rest of us prepared for festive break, but I fear not.
Much of our district is surrounded by the River Great Ouse, so we must expect some flooding from time to time and we can't control freak weather, but "poorly maintained watercourses" seems like something that is, or definitely should be, within the control of the various agencies involved in flood management.
Cllr Graham Wilson has told the county council that he believes “much of the flooding was exacerbated due to the lack of maintenance of ordinary watercourses and blocked road gullies and drains”.
County council leader, Steve Count says he has listened to those who have filed complaints, but, please Mr Count, it is now time to act.
I am not suggesting we can avoid flooding, but anything we can do to lessen the impact, or minimise the devastation and number of incidents for the people of Huntingdonshire, must be implemented as a matter of urgency.
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