Council calls on United Utilities to take ‘urgent action’ on flooding

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NEW pumping equipment should be installed at Barons Quay and Dock Road in Northwich, according to council leader Louise Gittins.

The Labour Cheshire West and Chester leader wrote to United Utilities last month asking for the organisation to ‘provide assurance that surface water flooding will be mitigated as far as practically possible’.

Now, the water company has responded — saying it remains ‘committed to working together’ with the council to solve the flooding issue.

In the letter to Steve Mogford, United Utilities Chief Executive, Cllr Gittins said: “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.

“I understand this is likely to require additional pumping apparatus at the Barons Quay and/or Dock Road sites.”

Recently, a report into the 2019 floods in the town found that the Dock Road pumping station was not fully operational ‘from the beginning of the event on the October 26 to 6:25pm on October 27’ — which was a ‘contributing factor’ to the damage done in Northwich town centre.

In response, a spokesperson for United Utilities told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We have assured Cllr Gittins that we remain committed to working together with all the flood agencies to provide the best possible flood protection for the community.

“Before, during and after Storm Christoph we had an enhanced presence on site and monitored our assets to ensure optimum performance. The temporary pumps we had deployed to protect our two large pumping stations weren’t needed in the end, as the sewer network in the town operated as designed.

“We therefore used the temporary pumps to remove more than 650 litres of water per second, which is almost one Olympic size swimming pool of storm sewage per hour, from the sewer network and discharge it into the river, with approval from the Environment Agency. Rivers, drains and sewers are all interconnected and the answer to Northwich’s flooding problem must be a joined up approach.

“We will continue to work with all the risk management authorities to develop a more integrated system and will of course take part in any required investigation into the root cause of this most recent flood event.”

Flooding is also set to be discussed tomorrow (March 17) as the council formally approves the recommendations of the section 19 report.

You can watch Cheshire West cabinet online at 10am on March 17.

Source: Northwich Guardian