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Lincolnshire residents will have to wait months for the outcome of flood investigations

Frustrated residents will have to wait several months for the outcome of investigations into Storm Babet flooding in Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire County Council has confirmed it is carrying out 170 investigations into flooding during Storm Babet which affected properties in Lincoln, and surrounding areas including Bardney, Scotter, Langworth, Horncastle, Wainfleet and more.

Almost 700 homes across Lincolnshire were affected by the heavy rain and flooding, which saw more than a month of rain fall in just 24 hours.

Flooding at the Langworth home of Harvey Howson
Flooding at the Langworth home of Harvey Howson

Lincolnshire County Council approved £4m funding earlier this month to carry out the investigations and implement any recommendations.

A spokesperson for Lincolnshire County Council said: “We will be carrying out a ‘Section 19’ flooding investigation in relation to flooding in Langworth during Storm Babet.

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“This will look into the causes of flooding in the village and will involve evidence from local residents themselves as well as all relevant authorities.”

Flooding at the Langworth home of Harvey Howson
Flooding at the Langworth home of Harvey Howson

Meanwhile, district councils in Lincolnshire, under the Government’s Flood Recovery Framework, are offering Community Recovery Grants of £500 for eligible primary residences.

This grant is for primary residences that were internally flooded due to Storm Babet or deemed unliveable for a time. However, second homes and empty homes are excluded.

Additionally, households forced to vacate their primary residences due to unlivability can apply for a 100% Council Tax discount for at least three months. Businesses with flooded premises may also be eligible for 100% rate relief for a minimum of three months.

For businesses, a £2,500 Business Recovery grant is available for SMEs affected by severe flooding, funded by DLUHC via the Flood Recovery Framework.

Residents and businesses can contact their respective district councils for more information on accessing these grants and reliefs.

Some residents, however, have already expressed frustration over the long-lasting impacts of the floods.

One such resident is Harvey Howson, whose property was affected by the flooding in Langworth.

Mr Howson believes the exacerbated flooding was due to the removal of flood defence banks by a nearby local developer.

During Storm Babet on October 20, Harvey observed rapid water accumulation in his neighbourhood.

Despite efforts using personal pumps and requests for assistance, the situation worsened.

“Cold, wet and isolated… It was rising fast, the rain continued. I knew at this point that it was going to come into the house,” he said.

“Some neighbours were crying, all were devastated.”

Mr Howson alleges the main issue was water pooling on the construction site of Truelove Property and Construction LTD at Fosters Yard, which led to overflow into the surrounding areas.

He recounted his home’s devastation, with over 0.5 metres of flooding and significant losses, including two pet chickens.

Harvey says he is deeply angered and frustrated over the situation.

“I feel so much loss and upset. My family has been made homeless, my young son has lost his toys and belongings,” said Mr Howson.

“I feel real anger that this has happened, as it should never have happened.”

Harvey is concerned about future rain events and the potential for repeated flooding. He says he has submitted evidence to the developer and council.

Mr Howson has also shared emails from both the council and the developer, stating the development was in line with planning conditions and regulations.

West Lindsey’s email to Mr. Howson explains that localised flooding doesn’t imply planning control breaches, as embankments, maintained by the Environment Agency, only reduce flood risk.

They say there was no evidence of breach of planning control or alterations to the embankment other than what was required for compliance with planning conditions.

The developer, Truelove Property, also appears to say they “do not believe this to be as a result of the works undertaken on our site”.

The LCC spokesperson confirmed one of the ‘Section 19’ investigation will examine Langworth’s flood causes, and involve local residents and authorities.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said, “We are aware of reported issues at Langworth in Lincolnshire and sympathise with residents who have been flooded.

“As the Lead Local Flood Authority, Lincolnshire County Council is leading the investigation into the flooding there. We fully support Lincolnshire County Council in their investigations.”

A spokesperson for West Lindsey said: “We are aware of Mr Howson’s enquiry, which has also gone to various parties including the County Council. We have responded to this on November 14.

“We would suggest that Mr Howson contacts the case officer if he still has any further queries on the matter.”

Truelove Properties was contacted for a response but had not replied by the time of publication.

Further examples of issues needing investigation include the failure of Horncastle’s £8.1million flood defences which failed to operate on the night, as well as scaffolding on a bridge in Brant Broughton which residents believe stopped water flowing freely after getting clogged up and creating a dam.

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