Tom Wright, Reporter
Friday, February 8, 2013
THE worst flood in a generation has prompted villagers to turn out in force and question those in charge of making sure it does not happen again.
More than 40 people attended Yatton PACT’s latest meeting, during which complaints were raised over ‘unprecedented’ flooding in the village and nearby Claverham.
Rhiannon Prys-Owen, PACT secretary, said parts of Yatton had been hit by the worst floods in 30 years.
She said floods at the end of last year had caused thousands of pounds of damage to homes and cars, with some residents reporting sewage coming up through their sinks.
The group issued a questionnaire in advance of the meeting to find out which areas were worst affected.
Yatton High Street, Claverham Road, North End, Horsecastle Close and Mendip Road were all highlighted.
And so bad was the flooding in November that the police were forced to introduce road closures across the two villages.
PC Paul Morris, beat manager for Yatton, said every time the village is hit by heavy rain he has to ‘shut it down’, although many drivers seem to ignore the signs.
Several villagers told the Mercury they were worried about admitting to flooding problems in case their insurance policies rocketed in price or became invalid.
The meeting also heard that problems in sewage disposal experienced by Wessex Water were partly because of blocked storm drains – North Somerset Council’s responsibility – overflowing into its pipes.
Other problems highlighted included clearing rhynes more regularly, although David Crossman from the Internal Drainage Board said several farmers were refusing to allow contractors to enter their land to alleviate the problem.
Councillor Tony Moulin, who represents the ward on North Somerset Council, said the problems were being replicated across the region and assured residents it was doing all it can to reduce flooding risks in future.
He said: “The wake-up call has been two very serious events which have been unprecedented.
“But it is more than just blocked drains. It is a wider issue.
“North Somerset Council has had 1,100 incidents reported and I’m aware that many people, for reasons such as insurance, haven’t reported them so it’s 1,100 plus. The best thing we can do is find where the main problems are. The priority is the risk to flooding properties.”
The council also plans to introduce its community resilience scheme to the area following a successful trial in neighbouring Congresbury.
It wants volunteers to collate information about the main problem areas in the village, to work on prevention plans for major disasters and to offer support in times of crisis.