South Tyneside Backs Flood Action Week
South Tyneside Council is helping to raise awareness of the risks of flooding and ensure Borough residents and businesses are prepared as part of a national campaign.
The Council is supporting the Environment Agency's Prepare. Act. Survive.campaign which has launched with Flood Action Week (22-28 November) and aims to support people to know what to do to protect themselves, their families, homes and businesses, from potential flooding incidents.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: "We understand flooding can have devastating consequences for people and property and we recognise the huge importance of planning and managing flood risk to help make our communities more resilient.
"Taking steps to prepare and know what action to take in a flood can significantly reduce the damage to property and possessions, reduce risk to life and reduce the likelihood of suffering from mental health impacts in the future.
"Flood Action Week is all about ensuring communities have the information they need. As part of the campaign, we are asking our residents and businesses to think about how they would respond in the event of a flooding incident in their local area."
Residents are advised to 'prepare' by having essential items such as insurance documents, medicines and clothing packed in case they need to leave their home quickly. Actions include switching off gas, water and electricity and moving furniture, pets and family to safety. In cases of severe flood warnings, residents are urged to follow the advice of the emergency services.
Residents and business can get advice from the Environment Agency and download the Prepare. Act. Survive. flood plan at https://check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk/plan-ahead-for-flooding
Councillor Gibson added: "Due to the Borough's riverside, coastal and urbanised location, the likelihood and the impact of flooding are greater in South Tyneside. This coupled with the increasing effects of climate change means we need to make sure we are as prepared as possible for flooding.
"The Council, Environment Agency and other partners have done a great deal of work over recent years to help reduce the risk of flooding in our communities. Though we can never guarantee an area will remain flood free, the measures put in place provide better protection and limit the risk and impact on residents and businesses.
"In line with our Flood and Coastal Risk Management and our Climate Change strategies we continue to look at what more can be done to safeguard our communities in future."
Over the last decade, around £11m has been invested in flood alleviation schemes across South Tyneside, from coastal defence projects to measures that increase protection to properties from surface water flooding.
Most recently, schemes have been delivered in Cleadon Village, Monkton Village and Fellgate. Other projects include property level protection measures in areas affected by surface water flooding at Reay Crescent, Elberfeld Court, Newcastle Road and Wuppertal Court.
Work to strengthen the Borough's coastal defences has also included the award-winning Littlehaven Promenade and Seawall and the Sandhaven dunes restoration.
South Tyneside Council is also the lead authority on the region's Stronger Shores project - one of 25 new projects selected nationwide to trial a wide range of innovative measures to flood risk. It aims to improve understanding of the coastal and flood protection value of marine habitats with the restoration of habitats such as kelp beds, osyters reefs and sea grass along the northeast coastline.
These projects support the Council's key commitment of investing in the Borough's natural and built environment.
Caroline Douglass, Executive Director of Flooding at the Environment Agency, said: "Now is the time for us all to be vigilant, not complacent, about flooding.
"Our previous investment programme protected 314,000 properties from flooding. Our flood defences have helped to protect nearly 200,000 properties during flooding incidents since 2019, and we're investing millions into building new schemes and making repairs to keep communities safe.
"Yet we can't prevent all flooding - climate change is only increasing that risk - and today's figures show that while some people are prepared, many are not. It's vitally important for the public to go online and check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency warnings, and know what to do if flooding hits."
Any residents or businesses concerned about flooding in South Tyneside can find further advice and guidance on the Council's website at https://www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/36335/Flooding