Communities in Cumbria and Lancashire were lashed by bad weather last week. Some areas experienced two weeks’ worth of rain in 24 hours and emergency crews were called out to rescue over seventy people – approximately half from their cars and half from their flooded homes. Let’s take a closer look at how the community of Galgate in Lancashire was affected.
Galgate Resident’s Experience
Steve Coultas of Galgate in Lancashire described to the Lancaster Guardian the moment that the floodwaters from the river Conder entered the home he shares with his wife and four children:
“The front door was buckling under the weight of the water. We were leaning against it trying to block it. We pushed a duvet and everything we could find to try and stop the water coming in, but there was just too much.”
It is dangerous to attempt to hold back floodwaters in this way, but Mr Coultas was clearly acting out of desperation. People know the devastation that will be caused when floodwater enters their home and will risk their wellbeing trying to hold back the flow.
The Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, Cat Smith, was furious with the local county council. She had been chasing them up about blocked drains. Nothing had been done and the floodwaters had proved too much for the badly maintained drainage system to cope with.
Bigger Picture: The River Conder
The upper catchment of the Conder is heavily farmed. The day after the floods, Alastair Driver, the director of Rewilding Britain – a charity that aims to restore British ecosystems – tweeted this:
I encourage all who suffered #Galgate #flooding to press for action on natural flood management in the upper Conder catchment. Clougha Pike and the sheep pastures below it, look as barren and run-off promoting as they did in my @LancasterUni days. @CatSmithMP @WilderScapes pic.twitter.com/f0Aui7fzo7
— Prof Alastair Driver (@AliDriverUK) November 23, 2017
Many recent flooding events could have been prevented by adequate land management. The restoration of natural flora in hilltops – trees and forests rather than sheep-shorn grass and rows of maize – would act as a huge sponge that could adequately soak up a lot of the increased rainfall. Natural sinks and ponds should once again be features of the landscape and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) must be included in new developments. For reasons that should be obvious, the habit of channeling excess water into local sewerage systems has been disastrous during flood events up and down the country. Nevertheless, developers continue to do it.
Property Level Preparation
Time and again, we hear from the victims of flooding events that they never thought it would happen to them. Your property doesn’t have to be situated on the coast or by a river in order to be at risk from flash flooding. Once installed, Flood Ark flood barriers can be erected in a few moments and form an effective barrier to rising water. Our barriers have been extensively tested in the laboratory and in the field.
The effectiveness of our barriers relies on a person knowing that a flood is imminent. Fortunately, it has never been easier to find out this information. Real time information on water levels is shared on the Environment Agency website and disseminated by third party providers such as Guagemap - which posts on Twitter with increasing frequency as waters rise. Using a service like this in conjunction with our barriers is a fantastic way to protect your most valuable asset.
If you would like to arrange a FREE survey of the flood resilience of your property, please get in touch. We will send an engineer to assess where our barriers could be of use to you. Call our UK office on +44 (0) 1603 879977 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.