Residents' anger over flood defence '˜failure'
THE Environment Agency says it will review the operation of its flood storage basins in Wyre after flooded residents claim an over-release of water contributed to the damage to their homes.
Churchtown residents claim the basin was emptied too quickly, seeing a surge of water flow up the River Wyre during Monday’s floods meaning more water was forced upon their streets and homes.
But the agency say that although there was an “unexpected rise” in water levels, it does not believe it contributed to further flooding in Churchtown.
Specifically referring to the Garstang and Catterall basins, the agency also says it will ask residents to assist with its review but insists it is routine and one similar was carried out following the floods caused by Storm Desmond last December.
Wyre Council say around 16 homes and garages were flooded in Churchtown, and two homes in Garstang, after heavy rainfall from Sunday evening to Monday morning caused water to overtop the banks of the River Wyre.
And Andy Melville, 30, general manager at the The Punchbowl pub on Church Street, Churchtown, said: “It was raining but there were no signs of flooding at around 1pm on Monday.
“I went to the airport to pick my mum up and when I got back two hours later, it had completely flooded.
“It was a huge difference to when I left.
“Everyone is devastated and so many people have only just got into their homes after last time. I really fear for my business and the town.”
Wyre Council continues to provide support to those affected by the flooding and councillor Roger Berry, neighbourhood services and community safety portfolio holder, says the council is continuing to press for further improvements to flood defences.
He said: “I’m very concerned, as I appreciate how difficult it has been for people in those areas over the past few months.
“We are doing our utmost to provide any assistance.”
The Environment Agency said: “Over the period of Sunday, August 21 to Tuesday, August 23, the Upper Wyre catchment unexpectedly experienced a maximum rainfall total of approximately 84mm, 74mm of which fell in a 12-hour period Sunday evening into Monday morning.
“This rain caused river levels in the River Wyre to rise rapidly. Our Flood Storage basins in Garstang and Catterall were both in operation by 9am Monday morning and were eventually both filled to capacity. River levels in the Wyre eventually peaked at 4pm on Monday.
“When river levels began to fall we proceeded to draw down the levels in the basin we are aware that an unexpected sudden rise and subsequent release of water occurred in the River Wyre. However, at no point did the river return to peak levels experienced earlier in the day and we do not believe that this caused further flooding downstream.”
“We will be reviewing the operation of all our assets following this incident, including the Garstang Basin, so if residents have any information that may assist this review, we would welcome it.
For advice about how to deal with flooding go to wyre.gov.uk/flooding to find out about applying for grant money visit wyre.gov.uk/floodinggrantscheme.