"Task group" to review Surrey County Council response to floods

A couple and pets being rescued from their home in Thorncroft Drive, Leatherhead, on Christmas Eve

A couple and pets being rescued from their home in Thorncroft Drive, Leatherhead, on Christmas Eve

First published in News
Last updated
Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A "task group" is to be set up in Surrey to review the county council’s response to devastating floods it was announced today.

The Conservative majority refused to debate a Lib Dem motion criticising flood preparedness and calling for specific action, during a meeting at Surrey County Hall this morning.

Tory councillors, who proposed their own motion, argued the Liberal Democrat’s proposals fell under the remit of the new flooding task group headed by environment and transport committee chairman Councillor David Harmer.

Afterth the meeting, a frutrated Lib Dem environment and transportation spokesman, Councillor Stephen Cooksey, said: "The administration motion in effect removes the criticism and the suggested action and provides an anodyne approach which adds nothing to what we already know."

County Councillor Tim Hall, who represents Leatherhead and Fetcham East, hit back saying: "That’s rubbish. We don’t know in many cases what caused the flooding. It’s silly, it’s premature."

Surrey Comet:

The Lib Dem motion called on the council to update its flood asset register and wet spot list, review its policy of cleaning gullies at least once a year, plant trees, develop policies to avoid building on flood plains, repair roads and bridges and apply for funding.

During the meeting, Coun Hall described it as a "narrow-minded look backwards" which failed to address concerns in his area where about 120 properties were flooded. He said: "It was not the drains in the road, it was the river mate."

He said the floods hit different parts to those inundated last year and during the great flood of 1968, adding: "It’s a fast-moving thing that needs evidence, proper thought and an opening of minds."

Councillor Chris Townsend, who represents Ashtead on the county council, quoted someone he spoke to during the floods who told him: "I don’t want you to learn lessons, I want you to take action."

Surrey Comet:

Leatherhead fire station during flooding on Christmas Eve

The Tory motion, which noted the infrastructure repair bill was more than £10m, resolved to continue helping flood victims, assess longer term solutions and call on the Government to fund a flood alleviation scheme.

A majority of councillors voted against critical amendments proposed by the Lib Dems to the Tory motion.

After the meeting, Residents’ Association County Councillor Eber Kington, who represents Ewell Court, Auriol and Cuddington, said he cut short the debate on the proposed amendment because it was "political ding-dong" and not in residents’ interests.

Coun Kington said the county council task group includes RA Councillor Peter Hickman and Conservative Councillor Denise Saliagopoulos adding: "It’s an excellent idea.

Surrey Comet:

A pony is rescued from at field at Thorncroft Stables, Leatherhead

"It’s important to know what the problems were, how they might be better tackled and a whole range of things to be done."

Coun Harmer said the task group would be made up of six or seven councillors including Coun Cooksey and representatives from flood hit areas.

He said: "It is essentially to look at what happened this year. We want to look at previous recommendations and see what was implemented to give us an idea of what we can afford."

He said they will report back to the select committee that will then make recommendations to the cabinet so measures can be put in place before next winter.

Comments (3)

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5:03pm Tue 18 Mar 14

EwellMan says...

Can we also have one to review the state of the roads in Surrey?
Can we also have one to review the state of the roads in Surrey? EwellMan
  • Score: 0

12:10am Wed 19 Mar 14

pdfbt40 says...

EwellMan wrote:
Can we also have one to review the state of the roads in Surrey?
Hardly necessary. We have 2 SCC 5 year Projects, 1 for road repairs, 1 for Pothole repairs. Of course they are both well behind schedule due to the floods. Except what percentage of Surrey roads were flooded? And weren't they already behind before the floods in December?
[quote][p][bold]EwellMan[/bold] wrote: Can we also have one to review the state of the roads in Surrey?[/p][/quote]Hardly necessary. We have 2 SCC 5 year Projects, 1 for road repairs, 1 for Pothole repairs. Of course they are both well behind schedule due to the floods. Except what percentage of Surrey roads were flooded? And weren't they already behind before the floods in December? pdfbt40
  • Score: -1

12:15am Wed 19 Mar 14

pdfbt40 says...

Lib Dems are right. The Task Group shouldn't be limited to response and recovery. Its far better to look at feasible prevention and control. That however might be embarrassing as the EA proposed flood prevention and control improvements plan in 2003. None of it has been implemented yet. I wonder why?
Lib Dems are right. The Task Group shouldn't be limited to response and recovery. Its far better to look at feasible prevention and control. That however might be embarrassing as the EA proposed flood prevention and control improvements plan in 2003. None of it has been implemented yet. I wonder why? pdfbt40
  • Score: 0

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