Storm Dennis, 2020's third named storm will be bearing down on the United Kingdom, only a week after Storm Ciara hit our shores. Heavy winds and near record rainfall over parts of Tamworth and Lichfield which were affected last weekend has made for an increased chance of incidents arising.
The Environment Agency incident room will be staffed all weekend, they will monitor rainfall and the corresponding flooding on rivers. Where necessary they have erected barriers and will continue to do so. Operational staff are checking gates and sluices are free from blockages and debris build up so that flood water can move quickly through the system. It is a 24/7 job and I am thankful we have such a dedicated team in the West Midlands.
If you want to check your flood risk or are at risk of flooding, you can take steps to protect yourself by signing up to free flood warnings via Floodline on 0345 988 1188. They offer a text message and call service when the river crosses certain thresholds, confirming when it is best to take action and what action to start carrying out.
You can also check the live flood warning map at the link below or use the smart phone all 'flood alert'. Finally the Environment Agency in our area can be contacted on Twitter at @EnvAgencyMids to keep you up to date with their work in the area.
On the Government side of things, with MPs like myself regularly raising concerns about the impact flooding can have on both big towns like Tamworth and smaller communities like Edingale and Drayton Bassett is ensuring that protecting people remains a top priority. With more extreme weather events expected as our climate changes, we need to ensure we are prepared.
The Government has invested £2.6bn in flood defence schemes and our manifesto committed to increase that budget to £4bn in the coming years. We work closely with the police, fire, rescue teams and local authorities to try to reduce the risk of flooding, particularly flooding caused by storms. The Army will also be dispatched in high risk areas where support is required.
Although the risk of damage from heavy storms can never be completely accounted for, I will continue to press the Government to invest in the future and do all it can to help people protect their homes.
For more info on flooding visit Environment Agency website www.environment-agency.gov.uk. The site also provides a guide to products for flood defences, like air brick covers, flood boards, non return valves and how to wrap properties which may be useful for some of you in areas close to the riversides.