South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver reflects on work of Lincolnshire Resilience Forum in wake of Storm Babet which hit Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings
One of the interesting features of being a local authority leader is getting to find out about all the things which go on behind the scenes which you were previously unaware of, writes South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver (Ind).
For me, one of the most interesting of these is emergency planning and response, which has of course been brought into sharp focus this week with the flooding issues, transport disruption, and loss of water supply in Stamford, caused by Storm Babet.
In Lincolnshire, emergency planning and response is co-ordinated through the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum (LRF) which brings together lots of key organisations including the seven district councils across the county, Lincolnshire County Council, NHS Lincolnshire, the police, the Met Office, the ambulance service, Anglian Water, the British Red Cross, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, and the Environment Agency.
Its work covers a multitude of areas of work including coastal flooding, river and surface water flooding, emerging infectious diseases, pandemic flu, loss of gas or electricity, heatwaves, extreme cold weather, terror attacks, and cyber attacks. It is activated to assist in responding to large-scale emergencies when required, and its partners work together to ensure that the necessary plans are in place and regularly test and prove these plans to ensure that every organisation can respond as quickly and effectively as possible.
At SKDC, we take our partnership with the LRF extremely seriously indeed.
Since Friday morning last week, our own dedicated emergency response team was activated, supported by representatives from every service area, due to the potential impact of Storm Babet. The council has a dedicated emergency planning lead officer, and all newly elected councillors are offered training in this subject. Those who attended this training back in May this year found it so helpful that we plan to roll out more in-depth training for our elected councillors shortly.
But there’s more we can do to enhance our county’s resilience – our town and parish councils should all be active partners too, and individuals can also volunteer. The forum has a Ready for Anything volunteers scheme at: https://www.lincolnshireresilienceforum.org/ready-for-anything/ through which individuals can support emergency responders and communities during and after crises. This support can include good neighbour support, logistical support, transport provision, missing person support, rest centre support, warning and informing, and Clean-up duties.
I believe strongly that we at SKDC should do all we can to encourage strong and resilient communities across our district and I know that our active participation in the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum is vital to assist us in this.