Tamworth between two rivers makes the town very much at risk of flooding. We see flooding in both our rural areas and urban streets.
The reasons behind the flooding can vary, sometimes it is very much the case that the river has overflowed following heavy rainfall, other times it can be that work on the river is required, from dredging and tree planting to building flood defences. Cleansing gullys and gutters remains important and renovating our ageing sewer and roadside network is key to progressing.
I have been engaging with Staffordshire County Council our flood authority on the issue, the Environment Agency and DEFRA. In relation to the road side issues and overflowing gutters, Staffordshire County Council is set to carry out investigations, surveys and hopefully some repairs and changes to the pipes and gullys. Town centre areas like Orchard Street and the Amington Arches are a priority here, looking further afield, Hints, Harlaston and Stonnall all face roadside flooding after heavy rain, because the pipes below cannot meet capacity, whether it is tree roots, cleansing or full replacement required, I will keep the pressure on for fixes. I am also working with Severn Trent water on this matter.
Looking at wider issues, particularly in the villages, it is clear that given the tools and support, many villagers will not only take preparations for flooding, but actively help reduce flooding, be it clearing waste from the rivers or changing how farming is carried out to help wherever possible. This should be recognised in Government and those who want to help, should be trained and supported in doing so to reduce instances where people are cut off and left waiting on the local authority to respond once flooding has taken place.
I have also been pressing for greater awareness and support within the insurance industry. It is not right that residents struggle to access support if flooding does occur, particularly when flood water can cause so much damage to structures and property contents. Ministers are working with the insurance industry and the wider commercial sector to help businesses become more resilient to flooding, through the joint Government and industry Property Flood Resilience (PFR) roundtable and through the development of a PFR roadmap by the end of 2022.
This is very much ongoing work but if you are concerned about flooding, sign up to Floodline - it's a free service, warning you when local rivers are high.