All residents whose property and/or land is adjacent to any watercourse has a responsibility to maintain it and to keep the water flowing freely without obstruction. Please read the document ‘Living on the Edge’ which is produced by the Environment Agency.
As a result of the devastating flooding in the village, the Parish Council is working closely with the Environment Agency (EA) and West Northants Council to come up with means of reducing and mitigating the effect of flooding if this should occur again. An open meeting with the EA was held in the Reading Room in 2016, and affected residents were invited to comment and give their views. As they have the ‘bigger picture’ and can determine the water flow around the village as well as inside it, we are hopeful that they will come up with some ideas to help us.
Yelvertoft now has a vision link camera. The community cameras and level sensors are a joint funded collaboration between Vision Link, the Environment Agency, and local authorities. They are free to use and allow local communities to visually monitor strategic areas which are prone to high water levels. Local communities can download the free iOS or Android app and start monitoring there local river level sensors and cameras. Herewith the link to the vision link cameras on site, you can access through the community option which will allow you to set up an account to view – https://www.vision-link.co.uk/community-home/ – The Yelvertoft FSA camera is located in the ‘south’ option.
From the Environmental Agency:
“I wanted to update you on our current position with Yelvertoft Brook. Since the multi-agency flood ‘drop-in’ session was organised the Environment Agency has undertaken a number of initiatives surrounding the Yelvertoft Brook. During October, the EA carried out an internal inspection of the culvert that runs under the village to inform potential maintenance. No debris or issues with the culvert were identified. Also, having started a review of the hydraulic model of the Yelvertoft Brook to assess how the Flood Storage Area (FSA), adjacent to the Crick Road operates, we have now undertaken additional topographic survey to further investigate potential opportunities. These include increasing the capacity of the FSA, looking to improve the way the FSA discharges into the Yelvertoft Brook, reviewing historic flow paths and potential changes to the confluence with the Clay Coton Brook. On completion of the review, we will conduct a feasibility study to determine and identify any potential improvements to the existing Flood Alleviation Scheme. In addition, installation of a CCTV camera at the FSA enabling the Environment Agency, and the community of Yelvertoft, to remotely monitor, via the internet, how the FSA is operating. In addition, the Flood Warning Service has been expanded from Clay Coton to include Yelvertoft. Properties with a BT Landline and EE mobile number will be contacted to offer subscription to service. We would recommend that all properties at risk should sign up to receive free flood warnings. People can find out if they’re eligible to receive flood warnings, and then register, by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188, or by visiting the website www.gov.uk/flood. This website also includes information on how to prepare and keep safe. The Section 19 Flood Investigation Report, which acts as a record of the event and any recommendations should be published shortly by Northamptonshire County Council. A link to which will be circulated when available. Lastly, should you have any questions regarding Flood Resilience and advice for the community, please contact my colleague Liz Fowler, the Flood Resilience Advisor for the area who I have copied into this E-Mail. Should you have any further questions, please let me know.
Kind Regards, Jon Saner, Flood Risk Officer | West Midlands (covering Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry & Warwickshire), Environment Agency, March 2017″
Environmental Agency Final Report
The Environmental Agency sent through their final report in April 2017. We strongly recommend residents take the time to read the report as they make several recommendations.
The Environmental Agency gave us several maps showing the flood areas in March 2016, sewers, Crick Road flood ponds etc. Please click on the following to view the maps.
Natural Flood Management Measures
Latest from the Environmental Agency September 2019:
“It was good to meeting you on Tuesday and thank you for showing us around Yelvertoft.
Regarding Natural Flood Management (NFM), I have attached a Yelvertoft catchment boundary that I think we would be looking at delivering NFM measures upstream of Yelvertoft. When talking about NFM we are really talking about working with natural processes, or working with the land, to slow and store water and trying to increase the chances of water infiltrating into the soil rather than becoming runoff, as well as lengthening the amount of time it takes to get from the top of the catchment to the areas downstream where flooding occurs.
Current evidence suggests that NFM is most effective on small catchments, such as Yelvertoft, and in smaller, more prevalent rainfall events. So although we wouldn’t expect NFM by itself to protect communities during major flood events, we do know that it can contribute to slowing and storing water and can help to increase the resilience of communities and businesses to withstand more extreme events. NFM also provides a wide range of additional benefits to the environment, such as reducing sediment input into watercourses, which can in turn reduce the frequency of maintenance required on assets, and can be very cost effective.
One of the key factors in the success of NFM is getting landowner buy-in. The measures that we would be looking at for example may include runoff attenuation features, such as small ponds in field corners, changes in land management practices, such as direction of ploughing, or the creation of vegetated buffer strips. Depending on the locations chosen, these measures have the potential to impact on the amount of farmable land, however our approach is always to work with landowners and find a compromise where both the landowner can benefit and where water can be stored and/or slowed. It is also important for landowners in upstream areas to make the connection and understand that how they manage their land can impact on the communities living downstream of them. I have therefore also attached a document that details a variety of different possible measures and explains what they are and how they can be of benefit to landowners. It is written mainly for farmers and so I hope it will be useful for the landowners around Yelvertoft.
I think at this point, if you feel comfortable to do so, I would suggest starting off by getting a feel for whether the landowners in the area highlighted on the map would be willing to have a chat and receive more information about having NFM on their land. If they are, then we could arrange more detailed discussions around what this could involve and what funding may be available. As Will mentioned, there are stewardship schemes that could provide some incentive to landowners and there may be some community funding pots that could be applied for if farmers didn’t want to do the works themselves. There is some information on this in the guide I have attached as well.
Flood Management Officer”
Natural flood management involves implementing measures to restore or mimic natural functions of rivers, floodplains and the wider catchment, to store water in the landscape and slow the rate at which water runs off the landscape into rivers.
Natural flood management takes many different forms and different terminology such as ‘working with natural processes’, green engineering, sustainable land management or runoff attenuation are also used to describe the techniques used.
Every farm will have features that, with some enhancement, could play a role in natural flood management.
If you own land in Yelvertoft please do take a look at the ‘NFM – a practical guide for farmers‘ to see how you can help. Funding is available.
Flood advice for residents
According to the Environment Agency over five million people in England live and work in properties at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, whilst more face flood threats from groundwater, surface water, sewers and reservoirs.
In extreme conditions you won’t be able to stop flood water, and you should always put personal safety above attempts to protect property and possessions.
Despite this, there are steps that you can take to keep water out, to buy yourself time to preserve property and possessions, and to limit the damage that flood water does.
The first step towards preventing flood damage is knowing your level of risk.
The Environmental Agency offers a comprehensive range of flood-risk warnings for England and Wales.
You may also benefit from:
- Paying a professional engineer or chartered surveyor for a flood risk assessment.
- Contacting your Lead Local Flood Authority, Local Environment Agency or parish or town council.
- Ensuring that you’re signed up for available phone, text or e-mail alerts and looking at flood-warning services on offer.
- Keeping an eye on weather forecasts and the media, and listening out for warning sirens and loud hailers.
Look out for danger spots
Look out for specific danger areas or weak points on your property such as:
- Backflow through pipes and drains
- Seepage through cable holes and external walls
Consider adequate home insurance cover
Perhaps the most obvious preparation is to insure your property for flood damage. If you already have home insurance you should check to see if you’re covered for flooding.
According to the Environmental Agency Flood Action Campaign 2019/20 the average cost of flooding to a home is around £30,000. Without insurance you may have to cover these costs yourself.
You should find out how much your policy covers you for, if the policy replaces your items new for old, and if it has a limit on repairs.
Prepare an emergency flood kit
An emergency kit containing essential items could be invaluable during a flood. Think about packing items such as:
- Contact details for family, friends, insurers, environment agency
- Copies of home insurance and other important documents
- Torch with spare batteries
- Wind-up or battery radio
- Waterproof clothing and blankets
- First aid kit and prescription medication
- Bottled water and non-perishable foods
- Baby food and baby care items
Stock up on items for flood defence
Consider stocking up on, and being ready to use, simple items that could prevent flood water entering your home.
- Flood barriers – Temporary flood barriers can protect individual properties, and they can also be used with your neighbours as part of a wider defence policy – something you may want to discuss with nearby residents
- Sealable bags – Large, sealable bags can be used to keep dry anything from sofas to electrical equipment, so ensure that you have a stock of bags in the house
- Water pumps – A pump fitted under floorboards or in a basement can help to clear flood waters more quickly
- Sandbags – There are also trusty old sandbags – these are generally thought of as a low-cost way of keeping unwanted water out, but note that questions have been raised about their effectiveness and environmental impact
Protect your property
Move things upstairs or to higher ground
If flood water hasn’t yet reached your property you may still have time to move essential items to higher ground. This includes items like your:
- Electrical equipment
- Garden pots, plants and furniture
- Items of personal value such as photos and mementos
Turn off gas, water and electricity
You should familiar yourself with the location of your mains before flooding occurs.
Before flooding occurs, shut them down only if you’re able to do so safely.
After a flood, you should only turn water logged utilities on after they’ve been checked by a qualified engineer.
Make household modifications
Consider large-scale projects for protection of your property. Most will need to be taken weeks or months before a flood warning.
- Outdoor modifications – Take a long, hard look at the outside of your property and its vulnerability to water and consider raising the threshold of your doors, applying water-proof sealant to walls, putting non-return valves on pipes and drains and ‘tanking’ your floors
- Indoor modifications – There are likely to be other measures you can take inside your house to improve its structural resilience in times of flooding. For example varnishing skirting boards, wall-mounting electricals and wiring, installing high shelves for valuables and water-proofing walls and flooring
What to do during a flood
Keep yourself and your family safe
Your first priority should be safety. Get to higher ground if possible and stay away from flood water.
Do not on any account touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
Follow the advice of the emergency services
Stay within or leave your home if you’re told so. If evacuated, you will be taken to an evacuation centre run by your local council.
If in imminent danger, call 999
If yours or someone else’s life is in danger and you need emergency help, contact the emergency services.
Returning home after a flood
Your home can be damaged extensively by a flood, so you might have to move out for some time. Here’s what to expect in the days, weeks and months after.
Within 24 hours: Contact your home insurance provider
Before you do anything, make sure that everyone’s safe, then call your insurer on its 24-hour helpline.
Two to seven days: Loss adjuster gets in touch
Your insurer will send a loss adjuster to assess the damage. They should be in touch within 24 hours of you contacting your insurer and will visit your home within three days.
If your home’s uninhabitable, the loss adjuster will let your insurer know and alternative accommodation will be arranged for you.
Four weeks: Cleaning and stripping
Your insurer will organise the professional clean-up of your property.
The full extent of damage caused by floodwater might be not apparent straight away so it can take a while.
Make sure you keep any carpets, furniture or other contents until your insurer agrees they can be disposed of.
If you need to throw stuff away before the loss adjuster arrives, you’ll need to keep some evidence like serial numbers or samples from carpets. Take photos of the damage and anything you throw away.
Six weeks to months: Drying out
Your home will have to be dried out – which can take weeks or months – before any redecoration can be done.
You can do this by keeping windows and doors open as much as possible, or by using a dehumifier with the windows and doors shut
It’s important that your home is completely dry before repairs are carried out.
Several months: Repair
Once your home is dry, the loss adjuster will arrange for plumbers, builders and electricians to come to your home.
The clean-up process will begin, usually employing professional cleaners.
Your loss adjuster might ask if you’d like to make any changes to your home to make it more resilient against flooding.
These changes could include replacing carpet with water-resistant flooring, installing aluminium kitchen units or re-siting electrical sockets higher up on the walls.
While the insurer will be responsible for the cost of restoring your home to its original state, if any of these changes amount to more then you’ll be asked to pay the difference.
Up to a year: Moving back in
Your insurer will let you know when it’s safe for you to move back in.
You’ll be able to move back in while repairs are ongoing, as long as you’ve got a working bathroom and kitchen.
Depending on the level of damage, you could be back in your home in weeks, or it could be a year or more.