June 25, 2019 9.20 am This story is over 57 months old

Independent review to be launched into Wainfleet floods

The floods devastated the village this month

Lincolnshire County Council will launch an independent review into the floods in Wainfleet which led to thousands of people to be forced out of their homes.

Council leader, Martin Hill, said he wanted to “reassure” residents following the flooding which devastated the village this month.

Heavy rainfall led to the River Steeping bursting its banks on June 12 and 580 homes were evacuated, with some people not expecting to be able to return for months.

Around half of those evacuated were allowed to return to their properties last Friday and emergency planners have since began a recovery process.

Lincolnshire County Council leader, Martin Hill Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Councillor Hill said a review will now be launched into how to protect the village from further flooding.

“On Sunday, I saw for myself the devastation the floods have caused the community of Wainfleet,” he said.

“I’d like to reassure residents that we will have an independent review to find out what happened and what needs to be done to protect the village in the future.

“We are committed to investing in our flood and water management in the county, reducing the risk of flooding for our residents.”

People made desperate attempts to save their homes. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

But the council, which is the Lead Local Flood Authority, had an underspend of £96,000 on its flood management budget last year.

Officials said this was because the budget is for response spending, and just 21 flood incidents were recorded in 2018/19.

However, 40 separate investigations have been started in the past two weeks due to heavy rainfall, much of which devastated Wainfleet.

Two months of rain fell in just a few days in Wainfleet.

An equivalent of around two months worth of rain fell over two days in the village, leaving some 1,000 people out of their homes.

Some have since returned to start the clean up and rebuild their lives, while others are not expecting to come back for another six to eight months.

Tara Elizabeth and Ashley Dolman, who live on Matt Pit Court in the village, said they felt “helpless” when the water began to rise.

Ashley Dolman outside his home on Matt Pit Court. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Mr Dolman said the floods “absolutely devastated” his family and called on officials to ensure that it “will never happen again”.

“All we want to hear is how they will prevent the River Steeping from bursting its banks in the future,” he said.

“I don’t want to sit around, so I’m happy to help my landlord out to fix the home and get my family back here.”

Emergency planners began the recovery phase of the operation yesterday, a process which officials said could take months.

The RAF helped to reinforce the bank. Photo: Environment Agency

Steve Eason-Harris, who works on the team, said planners and volunteers will continue to “work with the community” to get it back on its feet.

“We will assist the community until it returns to some form of normality,” he said.

“Although that will be a new form of normality, nothing goes back to the old way of doing things.”

Sandbags show the aftermath of the floods in Wainfleet. Picture: Steve Smailes.

The Environment Agency is expected to carry out permanent repairs to the river bank from today after completing temporary work.

The organisation, which is responsible for maintaining the River Steeping, defended its response to the floods after it was criticised for taking too long to stop the breach.

Meanwhile, a meeting at the Coronation Hall will take place on July 4 to the discuss the causes and the recovery operation.

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