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Wardens recruited to avoid repeat of floods
A CORE team of flood wardens is being recruited to halt a repeat of devastating floods in the Bridport area.
A drive is underway to boost the network of community volunteers who form the “eyes and ears” of the town and fill a key role in the resilience plan designed to deal with severe flooding like that which left West Dorset reeling in the summer.
The Environment Agency is now signing up volunteers to be at the sharp end of local flood prevention and action in case of further floods.
Nick Reed, Environment Agency flood resilience officer, said the team were delighted with the response at the recent surgeries.
“People raised their concerns with us, very genuine concerns, about what happened and what could be done to improve procedures and all that will go towards our future planning.
“Specific detail is very important to us and that is where flood wardens can really help us with their local intelligence.
“There are currently a number of wardens in Bridport and we want to create a good core of volunteers who will work with the town council to produce the flood plan.”
Mr Reed said that wardens could be anyone who is mobile and able to get out and about in their local community, although ideally not living directly in a major flood path.“We recognise that if someone’s own property is at risk, than that will be their priority.
“People don’t have to be weightlifters to carry sandbags either, just be fit and mobile and want to get involved”.
Typically, flood wardens pass on flood warning information at any time of the day or night, offer advice and information to the public and check that residents in their area have received flood warnings identify.
They also support vulnerable members of the community, provide feedback to the council and the Environment Agency about people and properties living in the flood plain.
They also provide vital information during flood events, for instance, information on blocked culverts and the number of properties flooded.
Beaminster’s established warden scheme has been hailed as a particularly good example of how well it can work.
The sessions were held by the Environment Agency and Dorset County Council.
People were encouraged to fill in maps, answer a questionnaire and provide detailed information as well as photos or video footage of their experiences during the floods.
Bridport Mayor Coun David Rickard and other councillors also gave their input and the town council is working closely with the other agencies to update local resilience plans for dealing with emergency situations.
Bridport town clerk Bob Gillis said that the town is keen to work with the Environment Agency and the county council.
“I think we did a good job on the day of the floods, but we want to learn the lessons and do as much as we can.
“The more intelligence and the more volunteers on the ground, the better.”
Anyone interested in becoming a flood warden can contact the Environment Agency on email@example.com or drop their details in at the town council offices at Mountfield.