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Flooding Recovery news (updated 23rd April 2014)

The Environment Agency issued two severe flood warnings - one for the Fordgate and Northmoor area and the second for the A361 from East Lyng to Burrowbridge on 5th February 2014. As of the 17th of March these are no longer in force. Agencies have now moved from immediate response into recovery.

For an easy to read A to Z style guide of flood recovery advice please visit: A to Z of Flood Recovery Advice

For previous days Sedgemoor Flood news and updates please visit: Flooding news and updates from previous days

For the latest multi-agency community update please visit: http://somersetnewsroom.com/category/flooding-2/community-update/.

Latest news and upcoming events:

Moorland and Fordgate community hub now open! Now open and available to the residents the Moorland & Fordgate Community Hub is a space to find information, chat, have some time out, meet organisations, ask questions, meet with neighbours and have a cuppa. There is a main room with tea & coffee facilities and a meeting/quite room for one-to-one meetings with an on-site booking system. You can find grant information sheets, dates and times for the flood relief centre, information on the Somerset Village Agents working in your area. The cabin is outside the village hall.

Moorland support centre: A reminder that following a dramatic reduction in enquiries, Sedgemoor District Council staff are no longer be based in the Skanska portakabin outside Moorland Village Hall.

Residents can get in contact with Sedgemoor District Council by phoning (01278) 435435, emailing customer.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk or by visiting their offices in King Square between 8:45am and 5:00pm, Monday to Friday.  A wealth of support is also available from our Flood A to Z: A to Z of Flood Recovery Advice . Sedgemoor staff will also continue to attend the fortnightly drop-in surgeries at Canalside.

Summer Penning: During this week, the Environment Agency will be out and about on the Somerset Levels and Moors, doing their summer penning, which is the raising of the levels in the rivers. What this means is that the pumps will be set to pump to higher levels of water and structures will be lowered in order to allow more water into the rivers.

This signals that finally there is some sense of normality returning to the area, following flood water being pumped and drained off the land. In the winter, the opposite will happen, when structures will be raised again and pumps will be set to pump to lower levels.

Garden soils affected by the flood waters: Unless there is obvious gross contamination, the risk of your garden soils being contaminated is negligible, as generally, the flood waters would have highly diluted any source of contamination contained within the soil.

Any affected areas may need physically cleaning down from debris or septic tanks, but sunlight and soil help destroy harmful bacteria and any excess risk to health should disappear within a few weeks or so.

As usual, with any garden soil preparation for vegetable garden areas, you will need to turn the soil. This will let the sunlight breakdown any contaminates exposed in the subsoil, to help vegetable growth mulch in any additional garden fertiliser or compost.

Alternatively, you could remove the subsoil and stored it in the garden, turning occasionally then adding in any new compost until ready to use. Or dispose of as per waste instructions by Public Health England.

If you have any concerns, please make sure you wash and cook (boil) vegetables for at least five minutes before eating. This should kill off any bacteria.

If you have any further concerns, contact Environmental Health via 0845 4082540 or 01278 435435.

Fortnightly flood support and advice surgeries: The next meeting will take place as usual on Wednesday, 23 April at the Canalside Conference Centre in Bridgwater. Running from 5:30pm until 8:00pm the fortnightly meetings are a chance for people who have been affected by the flooding to meet and talk, and access a variety of agencies that can offer advice and assistance regarding the aftermath of flooding, covering everything from insurance and grants to emotional support.

This week, two recommended agencies will be present; Lloyds Banking Group and RSA Insurers. All the relevant agencies involved in flood recovery are also represented including local councils, the Environment Agency, Community Foundation, Public Health and Village Agents. Advice and assistance will be available from 5:30pm, with agencies available to answer any questions from 6:00pm.

Environment Agency drop-in sessions: The EA is holding twice weekly drop-in sessions at the Old School Rooms in Burrowbridge on Tuesdays 3:00-5:00pm and Thursdays 9:00am-11:00am (excluding Tuesday 22nd April). Please come along and ask any questions you have about the dredging work. You can also find weekly updates on the EA website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/somerset-levels-and-moors-reducing-the-risk-of-flooding

General information and support available from Sedgemoor:

The big clean-up: What have Sedgemoor been doing?

Sedgemoor District Councils Clean Surroundings team have been out in force for several weeks now to help clean, sweep and tidy up flooded areas in an effort to get them looking squeaky clean again.

Around 90,000 sandbags have been cleared from the flood-affected areas by Sedgemoor District Council and its recovery partners. Sedgemoor staff have been working really hard alongside other agencies and volunteers to remove all the sandbags, for example we've removed over 2500 sand bags from just a small number of properties in East Lyng. Sandbag removal is an extremely time consuming and physical task and one that is not normally completed by local authorities after sandbags have been issued to households.

A two man crew have been operating almost continuously since the flood water subsided in Moorland and Fordgate. They have been clearing sand bags, flood debris, litter picking verges and assisting householders to dispose of damaged belongings and furniture etc. We have also been working with staff from the Environment Agency and voluntary organisations to remove sand bags from isolated communities such as Chadmead and Athelney.

All of the roads closed due to flooding within Sedgemoor were mechanically swept and cleared within 48 hours of reopening. The twelve remaining portaloos supplied to residents by Sedgemoor are still on site. Sedgemoor is still organising their cleaning and maintenance, and when no longer required we will organise their removal.

What can Sedgemoor help me with? 

  • Air pollution- problems caused by burning of rubbish
  • Assisted waste collections
  • Benefits Advice
  • Business Rate Relief
  • Clinical waste collections
  • Council Tax Relief
  • (Removal of) Dead animals
  • Garden waste collections
  • Heating Oil tank advice from Sedgemoor
  • Housing Advice
  • Loans
  • Mobile Homes and Planning Advice
  • Noise nuisance
  • Pest control service for flood-affected resident
  • Portaloos
  • Repair and Renewal £5,000 scheme for businesses and residents
  • Replacing lost waste and recycling bins
  • Septic tank advice
  • Tree maintenance and felling

For detailed information on what support is available please visit: A to Z of Flood Recovery Advice  or give us a call. Sedgemoor District Councils contact centre Sedgemoor Direct is open 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays). Sedgemoor Direct can be called on 0845 408 2540 or local rate 01278 435435. You can also email us on customer.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk or visit our office in King Square, Bridgwater, TA6 3AR (Monday to Friday 09:00am-05:00pm excluding bank holidays).

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