Flooding response criticism from councillor

Lack of communication during the Market Rasen flooding could have been ‘disastrous’, a councillor claims.
Flooding in Oxford StreetFlooding in Oxford Street
Flooding in Oxford Street

Councillor Stephen Bunney has urged Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue to improve co-ordination with residents during major incidents.

Part of the town was devastated by flash floods in August, with waist high water entering homes.

The Market Rasen councillor says the public didn’t know what was happening during the downpour.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s chief fire officer says that all emergency services worked hard in the public interest.

Councillor Bunney called for improvements during a meeting of Lincolnshire County Council.

He said: “I want to make it clear that I have the greatest admiration for the personnel on the ground during the recent flooding in Market Rasen and the Hemswell fire earlier on in the year.

“I am however concerned about the level of communication from the command centre to West Lindsey District Council, local councillors and residents.

“As no emergency was called, there appears to have been no direct communications on the night and little or no joint co-ordination by services.

“As a result, the overall response was not as strong or useful as it should have been.”

Coun Bunney continued: “On August 16, there was confusion whether households were being evacuated or not. Some were but no emergency accommodation was arranged.

“Luckily, things improved greatly when the rain stopped, but it could have been disastrous.”

He asked that the response be investigated so lessons could be learned.

Mark Baxter, the chief fire officer for Lincolnshire, said: “With very localised incidents, it’s important that we prioritise on the ground response and communication in an ever-changing scenario, and I’m confident that all organisations operated in the best interests of the public at the time.

“We endeavour to keep a range of stakeholders up to date all of the time, but we do cascade information in these situations and will continually promote this with key parties, so that this is used to full effect.

“We have embedded effective ways of working that operate well with partner agencies and have good coordination when bringing all agencies together to deal with live evolving incidents to ensure we support local communities during difficult times.”