Flooding and the Mid Norfolk Flood Partnership

Flooding has long been a concern for many in our part of Norfolk – but the heavy rainfall of December 23rd-24th 2020, and again in the early part of 2021, resulted in a record number of call outs for Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and Norfolk County Council alike, exacerbating these long held frustrations and fears.

Many saw their gardens and homes flooded with surface rain water and, sometimes, raw sewage. Many more reported being unable to use toilets and showers as drainage systems and nearby pumping stations were overwhelmed. Sadly, in most cases, it was the second/third/fourth time this had happened in the previous year (following similar flooding in previous years) and, quite understandably, people are at the end of their tether – feeling hopeless, and angry and distrustful of the local agencies that take their money, but provide a service well below the standard promised and which would be reasonably considered acceptable.

That’s why I decided to band together with local councillors in some of the most affected communities, and bring together community groups and officials of NCC, Anglian Water and the Environment to form a Mid Norfolk Flood Partnership – an open forum in which specific flooding issues, historic wider issues and how the system for responding to and mitigating flooding events needs improving.

The MNFP pulled together a 14 point letter that was among the very first submissions to Lord Dannatt (then Chair ofthe Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance) – and since then, we continue to lobby hard for assistance and reform.

We were delighted when the NSFA’s first recommendations included most of the 14 points that we had ourselves suggested in our letter to Lord Dannatt. The NSFA’s news that they would tackle ‘tranches’ of the worst affected communities was also greatly welcomed – with the first tranche including 16 towns and villages hit especially hard (of which 6 were located in Mid Norfolk). This came as a tremendous relief – and, following Lord Dannatt’s assurance that further tranches would follow, I have welcomed subsequent announcements of targeted support for other communities with specific issues in the years since(including additional targeted support packages for the likes of Dereham).

However, the terrible flooding caused by storms in October and November 2023 reminded us once again that we must not be complacent. Together with the MNFP, I continue to actively campaign on these issues and am determined to do all I can (both in Norfolk and in Westminster) to ensure the statutory flooding authorities and their wider partners are fully aware of the devastation flooding causes, and that they accelerate and upscale their efforts to improve flooding response and water management, as well as strengthen flood resilience.

In Westminster, I have raised the inadequacies of outdated riparian ownership legislation and highlighted again the need for greater emphasis to be placed upon flooding and drainage in the planning process. We cannot have households across Mid Norfolk continuing to be repeatedly flooded. We need a clearer set of legal obligations – with fines if necessary to fund compensation and remedial work – on large scale developers, on the Environment Agency, on water companies and any negligent landowners to ensure that they properly design and maintain drain infrastructure, and have a legal duty to fix issues that arise when they haven’t done so.

One of the reasons for stepping back from the Government frontbench was to have more time here in Mid Norfolk to help tackle this. And to be able to introduce a Bill/legal reforms to the necessary planning rules to get this fixed.

Rest assured, I will keep on this – working with partners to ensure Mid Norfolk’s voice is being heard at the very highest levels and that we see the improvements needed.

This page is dedicated to this campaign, and you will find each update I provide on this issue..

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