Aldringham Lane Flooding

Flooding November 2019  (Chris Theobald)

Update from  Suffolk Highways (23/11/2019)

 

Gully Cleaning

The gullies were cleaned on 25th November 2019.

 Sand Bags

Delivered  on 21/11/19.

Please advise if a follow up request is required but bear in mind that we are not able to deliver these at short notice due to time required filling them and availability of resources in terms of labour and vehicles.

 Grit Bins

I have been informed that the grit bin opposite the pub is present and has been filled.

 Development Currently Being Constructed

I’ve reviewed the online application on the planning portal website and there’s nothing which stands out as being a concern.  The design is based on a 1 in 100 year + climate change return period, which I believe equates to equivalent 1 in 140 year return period. The highway will be adopted by SCC and the highway drainage flows into large concrete ring soakaways just off the main road.  Roof water will flow into individual soakaways in private gardens.  There is the possibility of ‘exceedance’ flows in rare events where the drainage system can’t cope, and the drawing show these exceedance flows flowing onto the main road.

 The drainage element of this application was approved by both SCC highways and SCC Floods Team therefore I have confidence in the scrutiny this application has received.

 Providing Traffic Management for Villagers to Deploy a Road Closure

Unfortunately we can’t provide cones and signs for various safety and legal reasons which I’m afraid can’t be overcome.  There are very prescriptive standards which state how traffic management can be positioned and deployed which includes numerous approach signage which are required for the traffic management to be legal in terms of risk to third parties.  Also, there are specific standards for training of staff which are legally required to erect and maintain traffic management in order for third party liability to be covered by the organisation which erects the traffic management.

 If others are erecting traffic management then they will fail to meet this criteria and therefore if a vehicle, or member of the public has an accident which is attributed to this traffic management there will be a legal case, this is regardless of the flooding and severity of the flooding.  I appreciate this is frustrating however there are strict standards and protocols relating to traffic management and the associated specific highway law and regulations.

 Pump

Some comments regarding practicalities of installing temporary pumps:

Highways providing a pump as an emergency response for future flooding events is not an option we can commit to. We do very occasionally deploy pumps to clear flood water from the highway where we have significant depth of flooding for several days leading to road closure or immediate threat to life. Even in these very exceptional cases we can only consider a pump where there is somewhere to pump that water to in such a way it doesn’t simply flow back.

 When pumps are required we hire them in, this is the best way to ensure we have the right choice of pump and it’s in good working order. It isn’t feasible for us to keep pumps in our depots, they are not only expensive to buy but require regular use and maintenance to ensure they are in working order. Suffolk Highways doesn’t keep pumps on hand, and certainly not of the size that would be required to handle the amount a water from the highway and overland flow at Aldringham.

 Even if Suffolk Highways had pumps on hand and was in a position to offer pumping as an option to reduce depth or duration of flooding, when we have periods of heavy rainfall there are many places where we have flooding inside people’s houses or across major roads, so there would be no guarantee that the pumps had not already been deployed at other sites.

 There are also the many practical/technical issues such as requiring a certain depth of water or a sump, length of hose required, etc

Trench Sharing With Scottish Power

From previous experience ‘trench sharing’ doesn’t work.  For us to attempt to combine our works I feel will introduce delay and complication as significant liaison is required between us and Scottish Power therefore we don’t wish to peruse this option.  We would rather these efforts went into implementing our works rather than introduce additional delay.

 Floods Team

Can you please forward any videos and photos of the flooding of both properties and of flood water from adjacent land other than highways to:floods@suffolk.gov.uk  they are not however able to action highway related flooding.

Communications/Reporting of Incidents

If there are any flood events that happen in the future that require an urgent response please use the SCC call centre or the highways reporting tool on the website as this will provide a 24 hour response, but also importantly from our point of view will record the event/issue on our system automatically to give an historical record:

https://highwaysreporting.suffolk.gov.uk/

Also can you please copy Communications@suffolkhighways.org into any correspondence as it is highly likely that I may be out of the office on site, meetings etc and therefore may not be able to respond to correspondence personally.

 Stakeholder Meeting

I’m trying to get dates from those required for a day of meetings regarding this site, of which I haven’t yet a confirmed date.  The morning will consist of a meeting between the key stakeholders to both inform of the situation and discuss potential options, and the afternoon will be a community meeting whereby residents can be updated on where we are and then pose questions – this was the course of action agreed on Monday.  Therefore in advance of this can any questions be sent to the community representative for us to either answer in advance, or answer on the day. 

When we have some potential dates I will forward these on.  In the meantime can we please have a community representative put forward to represent the residents/community.

 Once again, apologies that I wasn’t able to cover everything Monday, however thank you all for your patience and being well mannered as speaking from previous experience, such events are very challenging when emotion gets out of control.

A final point which I cannot stress highly enough and apologies for repeating myself, without a solution to the greater surface water run off issues, of which a solution may not 100% exist, we cannot totally eradicate any future flooding of the highway at this location even after our works.  A longer term piece of work is likely to be required to tackle this source of water and multiple agencies/stakeholders will all need to buy into a potential solution if there is an available solution.  I stress this as I can foresee a situation where a flood event occurs after our works, although there will be the ability for the water to recede quicker in such instances.

  


Suffolk Highways' Response to Latest Flooding Event (November 2019)

“Our teams have been onsite this afternoon to formally close the road, and to provide warning to all road users of the current situation. Once the water has dispersed, our contractors will attend to carry out temporary works to further alleviate the flooding.”

“A long term drainage solution is required at this location which will potentially involve work on private land. We fully appreciate the frustration and concerns with the ongoing problem however, proposals have been discussed and will require agreement with landowners before the final solution can be delivered. This site is a high priority and funding has been allocated in the 2020/21 planned drainage programme.”

“Over the last few days, many parts of the Country has experienced heavy rainfall, including parts of Suffolk. With the amount of rainfall we have seen, areas of flooding and standing surface water are unavoidable, but will drain away. We would ask Suffolk residents to drive to the conditions of the road and allow around 48 hours for water to disperse before reporting it to us.”

“Where there is an emergency, i.e. flooding to property, we do encourage people to report it to us by calling 0345 606 6171.

The Beer Garden at the Parrot following heavy rain - November 2019 (Chris Theobald)

 

Children trying to get to school - 14.11.19 (Cara Chinery)

Update on Long Term Drainage Solution from Suffolk Highways Design Team

 

Land Permissions & Legal Process :  I had a very productive meeting with the land owner and we have agreement to outfall into the pond on his land south of the pub.  We initially requested installing a pipe running across his land, this pipe would require an easement, this was however understandably denied by the land owner.  We additionally suggested a ditch system around the edge of the field, and unfortunately this was not the preferred option by the land owner.  We did agree on a piped system around the edge of the field, requiring an easement, which will result in us digging out the pond by a considerable depth (approx. 1-2m) to achieve the fall required to drain Aldringham Lane.

To get to the field we need to cross the pub land, the land agent to the pub land provisionally agreed to a pipe crossing their land at a meeting in the summer.  Following agreement with the land owner I have made further contact with the land agent and have requested confirmation that their position remains the same.  I have yet to receive any confirmation or contact from the land agent.  Once we receive confirmation we can instruct our legal department to draft a legal agreement.  This is unfortunately not going to be an overnight process, however we can apply the required pressure to expediate this as much as possible.  However we cannot progress with this until we receive confirmation from the land owner.

 Funding :  As you are likely aware our highways budget is under extreme scrutiny and we simply do not have any additional funding for a scheme this financial year.  As previously stated at our meetings with all respective parties any scheme would be implemented next financial year (20/21) once new funding became available.

It is also good to keep in mind this site is on an overland flood path.  It is therefore likely that flooding will occur within this vicinity without significant engineering works.  Even after our progressed drainage works it is likely some flooding will still occur due to the sheer volume of water on this natural flood path, especially as our only outfall is a pond which throughout prolonged precipitation will fill.  There is also a responsibility for all adjacent land owners to maintain their ditches, and to deal with their surface water.  The flooding which occurs on Aldringham Lane is not solely highway surface water, but rather water which runs off the adjacent fields onto the public highway.

We are exploring an alternative solution to crossing the pub land which will reduce the scope of any legal agreements we need to make, therefore quickening the process.  We are awaiting a GPR survey (a survey to determine the depth of existing underground surfaces) to ensure that this is a viable solution.

As way of a summary, unfortunately there does not appear to be a quick win, and we are trying to manage the expectations of the public and interested parties.  Without respective permissions of land owners, and funding we simply cannot react as quickly as we would like.  This area is prone to flooding due to the flood path, and any existing highway drainage which worked is now redundant due to the development off Mill Hill.  This development was constructed over the highway drainage pipe and is therefore now inaccessible and non-functioning.

(Cara Chinery)

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