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LETTER: We need a better flood alert

Opinion

Opinion

Ever since the floods on December 5, people have been asking Boston Labour councillors why we didn’t have any sirens in Boston.

The same question came up again recently when Radio Lincolnshire did a review on what has happened in the six months since the floods.

Interestingly a major report has been done by the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum called “The East Coast Tidal Surge 5th December 2013”. Within that report it states that an area for improvement is – support offered to vulnerable people/older people who needed help to evacuate. This is just one of several recommendations.

Time after time people have told us they did not know what was happening on the night. When you look at the evidence of the night, people had come home from work, put on their tea and were just about to start watching early evening television. Others just come home from work and put their pyjamas on.

Scores of people who were at work all day until the early evening were totally oblivious to what was going to happen.

We now know that other towns like Grimsby and Cleethorpes have sirens which were used to good effect on that evening. We have also become aware that in East Yorkshire, they have asked for a new flood siren to be installed for future flooding events.

Following a letter to the chair of the environment agency, he stated that “they would discuss the costs and benefits of installing and maintaining additional sirens with the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum and the community”.

We recently asked the Conservative Cabinet if they would support the introduction of a new siren to warn people of imminent flooding in the future?

The reply was that they weren’t convinced by the debates they had heard that a siren would have had anywhere near the same impact as Police Officers, Fire and Rescue colleagues and council staff knocking on every door in the areas they were told would be worst affected.

We repeatedly asked if they would support the introduction of a new siren and the answer came back very clearly – NO.

We know that Boston only had twelve hours warning and door knocking did not start until the afternoon, while many residents were at work or out shopping, and in many cases they had no warning until the early evening when people knocked again, just before the flooding.

We also know from the debate on Radio Lincolnshire that scores of people are in favour and loads of people have rung us or stopped us in the street, including councillors on Boston Borough Council who all feel that we need to be prepared for future flooding with a new siren that is in a prominent place. We know that only 16 per cent of people have signed up for flood alert.

We believe that through the multicultural nature of the town and the number of vulnerable and older people living in our communities, it is essential we have a siren.

We will continue to campaign for one so our town has earlier warning and is better protected in the event of future flooding.

Boston Labour councillors

 

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