Flood inquiry underway in Shepton Mallet and surrounding area

By Laura Linham

29th Mar 2024 | Local News

Alongside Shepton Mallet, towns such as Bruton, Croscombe, Knole, and Nunney have experienced significant flooding.
Alongside Shepton Mallet, towns such as Bruton, Croscombe, Knole, and Nunney have experienced significant flooding.

Shepton Mallet is among several areas in Somerset currently under scrutiny as the council investigates recent flooding events, including the aftermath of Storm Henk, which affected the region in early January 2024.

Alongside Shepton Mallet, towns such as Bruton, Croscombe, Knole, and Nunney have experienced significant flooding, leading to widespread concern among residents and local authorities.

The council has initiated two further investigations into these incidents, following reports of 14 properties being flooded in Martock on December 4, 2023, and over 50 properties across the mentioned areas suffering due to Storm Henk on January 4, 2024.

The investigations aim to understand the cause and extent of the flooding, assess the response measures taken, and identify ways to mitigate future occurrences.

Anna Meares, the council's flood investigation officer, highlighted the importance of these investigations in her report, stating, "Flooding is a sensitive topic due to loss of property and livelihood. Recurring flooding leaves residents anxious of repeat events. Reports need to be published so lessons can be learned, mitigations put in place, repeat events avoided, and flood responses improved."

Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) across England and Wales have a statutory duty to investigate flood events when they occur in their area. This duty is set out in Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, and hence, such flood investigations are referred to as Section 19 investigations.

However, staffing issues have led to a significant backlog in producing Section 19 reports, which are essential for documenting and analysing flood events as per legal requirements.

The backlog is so extensive that the council has only recently published its final report on the floods that impacted the Shepton Mallet area in October 2020.

The reports for the floods of May and September 2023 are anticipated to be released before Christmas, and the investigations into the December 2023 and January 2024 floods are not expected to be completed and made public until early-summer 2025.

     

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