County council staff ‘tremendously busy’ dealing with floods fallout

A swan was shot, along with a mallard duck and some moorhens in Wendover on January 25
A swan was shot, along with a mallard duck and some moorhens in Wendover on January 25

County council staff have been ‘tremendously busy’ dealing with the fallout after near record levels of rainfall in December.

According to West Sussex County Council its staff have been working ‘flat out’ over the Christmas holiday and New Year period reacting to the bad weather affecting residents across the county.

Seven hundred and fifty ‘incident calls’ were dealt with by the county council outside of normal working hours between December 23 and January 7.

Of these, 250 were flooding related, while another 250 were to do with fallen trees, and another 250 calls were received to deal with other incidents.

The county council has worked with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, Southern Water and the six district and borough councils as part of the response effort.

Meanwhile work by the county council in preparing for flooding last year was praised by Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley in the House of Commons last week.

Lionel Barnard (Con, Henfield), WSCC cabinet member for residents’ services, said: “Our staff have been tremendously busy – at all hours - dealing with the fallout caused by the floods.

“Unfortunately when you get this volume of water it has to go somewhere.

“I can assure residents we are doing everything we can to make sure problems they have encountered are being dealt with.”

Last year the county council launched its Operation Watershed programme, which aims to carry out more than 100 drainage improvement projects in locations most affected by flooding.

On the roads three extra gangs have been deployed to deal with the potholes which have started appearing across the county with 722 reported since January 1.

Uprooted trees or branches that have fallen in private ditches have also caused some problems.

Blocked ditches and watercourses can prolong drainage problems or stop water draining away properly.

Pieter Montyn (Con, The Witterings), cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “At times like this we really do need the help of the public.

“If you come across a tree that has fallen in your private ditch, we ask for your help in clearing it.

“It can prevent all manner of problems for neighbours and your community further down the line.”

For more information about flooding in West Sussex visit the county council’s flooding website.