The Parish Council has been developing a Resilience Plan for the Parish. This has been difficult because of the lack of a mobile phone signal, which the PC has been pressing the Home Office hard for since the erection of the Emergency Services Mast at Halse Farm. Also, the changeover by Openreach from the old copper wire system to fibre broadband which will leave much of the area with no communication in the event of a power cut.
Somerset Council are encouraging all town and parish councils to attend meetings to learn how to deal with extreme events – some caused by Climate Change, and others caused by accidents, storm damage or electricity and water failures.
The Civil Contingencies part of Local Government will continue to co-ordinate responses by all the Emergency Services, but the idea is that before they get to the incident a Local Resilience Team will try to ameliorate the situation until the arrival, if necessary, of the professionals. Winsford PC has received a grant from ‘Somerset Prepared’ which will provide the team with the basics such as drain clearing equipment, lighting, water diversion ‘snakes’ and the new ‘gel’ bags which can temporarily shore up edges of ditches and watercourses. The PC would like to thank all those who have offered their help in the community to try to keep everyone safe. The PC is awaiting confirmation of where the equipment can be stored and will be in touch to organise the team. The grant will also cover first aid, CPR and defibrillator training for those team members.
Riparian Owners have had a copy of the Environment Agency information document ‘Living on the Edge‘ (click on title to download a copy).
It must be stressed that every resident is entirely responsible for making their own homes resilient and taking measures such as installing flood defences on doors, airbricks, or any other possible point of water ingress and ensuring they have a plan to get out of their home should the worst happen.
Everyone needs to play their part in all this and know their rights and responsibilities especially Riparian Owners. If you own land or property next to a river, stream, brook, culvert or ditch – in fact any watercourse- natural or artificial channel above or below ground through which water flows, you are responsible for it. You must not build structures on a flood plain nor leave things like garden furniture to be washed into the watercourse. Your Risk Management Authority can give advice. If the watercourse is a ‘Main River’ such as the Exe it would be under the EA. If it is classified as an ‘Ordinary River’ like the Winn Brook, it comes under the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) at Somerset Council. It is hoped that the EA Community Engagement Officer will be attending the Fete, to answer questions and give advice.
With the confluence of the River Exe and Winn Brook in the centre of the village, the ford, 8 bridges which block easily, surface water run-off from the hills surrounding the village, and much of the village being in flood zones 3 and 2 it is essential that everyone is prepared.
All residents are advised to sign up to the EA flood warning system, which can alert by phone, text or email.
Telephone: 0345 988 1188