Council leader says significant investment needed to safeguard Cheshire West from flooding

3 February 2021

The Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council has called for significant investment to prevent future flooding incidents in the borough. 

Council leader Louise Gittins has also urged agencies to work quickly to introduce measures to protect the borough’s communities.

In the aftermath of the recent flooding events, Cllr Gittins has written to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) requesting their support in safeguarding the borough against flooding.

Now, Cllr Gittins has approached United Utilities, to ensure that all agencies involved continue to work together to quickly identify what improvements can be made. 

In a letter to United Utilities Chief Executive Steve Mogford, Cllr Gittins says that the Council has worked with the Environment Agency to install the flood defences in Northwich town centre during 2016. 

Cllr Gittins adds that even though these defences have worked, the town centre still flooded in October 2019 and again in the most recent incident. 

Following the 2019 floods in Northwich, the Council worked with the Environment Agency, United Utilities and other risk management authorities to investigate the causes. An interim report into the findings has already been published, with the full report being made available in March of this year. 

In her letter, Cllr Gittins says: “I am grateful for the ongoing dialogue between our teams, and the work to establish the causes and solutions to the severe flooding we have experienced twice in just 15 months. A number of recommendations from the interim report have already been acted upon, without which we may have been in an even more dangerous situation last week. However, it is clear from the latest event associated with Storm Christoph that Northwich town centre remains susceptible to severe and unacceptable flooding from surface water, which in some places was as high as 4ft deep.”

At the height of the latest flooding, the Council worked to evacuate more than 100 residents from their homes. Over 60 businesses in Northwich were affected. The Council is now working to support them with their recovery plans. 

The Leader adds: “Urgent action is now required for the areas affected by Storm Christoph and in particular Northwich town centre. I hope you are now able to commit the expertise and resources of your teams to work with us on the next stage of this review; identifying where significant investment may be necessary, and delivering that investment as quickly as possible. I also encourage United Utilities to immediately implement contingency measures, to provide assurance that surface water flooding will be mitigated as far as practically possible.”

The Council has also announced a full-scale review into the latest flooding incidents. The findings of this review will be made public in due course. 

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