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‘Unprecedented’ rise in flooding means Lincolnshire ‘not out of the woods yet’





While some are still recovering months after Storms Babet and Henk, Lincolnshire County Council warned that more flooding could soon be on the horizon.

After heavy rainfall affected parts of the county over the weekend, local officials have highlighted that storms are occurring with greater frequency and intensity, partly as a result of changing weather patterns.

Thankfully, the rainfall this weekend has so far only led to external flooding.

The flooding in Langworth. Photo: Submitted
The flooding in Langworth. Photo: Submitted

However, officials are advising communities to remain vigilant until conditions normalise, a milestone some believe won’t be reached until later this spring.

During the council’s Flood and Water Management Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday, Coun Colin Davie (Conservative), portfolio holder for Economic Development, Environment, and Planning, highlighted that the council is currently conducting 230 flooding investigations, involving around 850 properties across the county following the previous two storms in October (Babet) and January (Henk).

He underscored the “unprecedented” nature of these incidents, stating they are on a scale not seen since Lincolnshire County Council became the lead flood authority in 2012.

Colin Davie
Colin Davie

Coun Davie described the situation as a “challenging period,” adding: “We’re not out of the woods yet.” He noted that more issues with surface water are expected following the weekend’s heavy rain.

LCC’s Flood and Water Manager, Matthew Harrison, noted that around 600 “near misses” were also recorded in the aftermath of the two major storms. “It really does paint a significant picture county-wide,” he remarked.

Chris Miller, Head of Environment at LCC, added: “It’s fairly clear that storms will come with greater frequency and indeed intensity. With that rain comes the added risk of extra flooding.

Flooding outside Greystones House, Tallington. Photo: Submitted
Flooding outside Greystones House, Tallington. Photo: Submitted

“This time of year, after already having two events, the ground is saturated, so more rain complicates things and creates greater levels of risk into an already saturated system.”

In the last two weeks, the banks of the River Witham near Fiskerton were breached for the second time in four months, due to a combination of heavy snow and rain.

This latest breach, worsened by previous damage from Storm Babet, resulted in flooding of nearby paddocks in Short Ferry.

Matthew Harrison, Flood & Water Manager at LCC. Photo: James Turner
Matthew Harrison, Flood & Water Manager at LCC. Photo: James Turner

Coun Ashley Baxter (Independent) later brought attention to the challenges faced by Tallington, near Stamford, concerning excess surface water.

He believes that had the Environment Agency responded to a request for a pump at the beginning of January, the village might have been spared from its current predicaments.

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The Independent councillor also said he was “astonished” and “disappointed” with Anglian Water, which admitted to being unaware of any issues in the area.

Coun Thomas Ashton. Photo: James Turner
Coun Thomas Ashton. Photo: James Turner

Acknowledging the series of challenging weather events, Morgan Wray, a Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, remarked: “This weather pattern looks like it’s here for a little while longer.”

Coun Thomas Ashton (Conservative), Chairman of the Flood and Water Management Scrutiny Committee, believes there’s an urgent need for the Environment Agency to address the gaps in flood defences during periods of calm between weather events.

“The challenge we’ve faced in recent months is that just as we manage to lower the water levels, it comes rushing back in through the breaches. If the ground conditions improve and the Environment Agency can plug these breaches, then the water levels can stay down, allowing us to return to something resembling normalcy.”



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