The Head of Environment presented the above report a copy of which had previously been circulated. He advised that the purpose of the report was to present and seek Members’ comments with regard to a draft protocol relating to support provided by Council during flooding incidents.
In response to concerns expressed by Councillor P Kelly, the Head of Environment advised that consideration could be given to the need for additional sandbags in the Council’s Derry Road Offices. He also referred to the Community Resilience Scheme which was a separate project.
In response to a query from Councillor C Kelly, the Head of Environment advised that the colouring contained in Appendix 1 was an in-house reference. He stated that Council Officers would continue to monitor the weather forecast in similar situations and would place Council on a state of readiness regardless of what other bodies intended to do at any particular time.
Councillor C Kelly said the supply of sandbags in Council’s possession was encouraging. He stated however, that, if required, additional sandbags could be made available from other agencies e.g Rivers Agency. He welcomed the progress which Council had made during the past year in terms its flood response.
Alderman Hussey anticipated that this would be addressed again on 27 June at the Flooding Review together with the lessons learned from problems which had arisen in the past. He welcomed the fact that Council was now part of the official response team.
Alderman Devenney welcomed this pro-active initiative and Council’s involvement in the official response team. He referred to the need to ensure that there were sufficient sandbags to facilitate all Council areas and particularly those areas facing the greatest risk.
Alderman Warke welcomed the provision of 800 sandbags in Eglinton particularly given the extent of the damage caused in that area during the 2017 floods. He felt that additional sandbags were required in the rural area. He said Council had led the way in addressing this issues and acknowledged the hard work and effort involved in reaching this position.
The Head of Environment advised that Transport NI had approximately 8000 sandbags stored locally with additional sandbags stored in Omagh and Coleraine which could be used in times of necessity.
The Head of Environment advised that Council would assist DfI and TNI should a similar incident occur. He stated that the Emergency Planning Officer was working with local communities to develop a community resilience plan in order that communities could assist themselves should a similar problem arise. He concluded that Council were keen to lead the flooding response where appropriate.
In regards to a community resilience plan, Councillor R McHugh expressed concern that during the previous year’s flooding incident residents in a local community in Castlederg had been refused access to sandbags stored in that area. He queried if discussions had taken place between Council and DfI regarding this matter.
The Head of Environment said he understood that discussions had taken place however, he was not aware of the outcome thereof. He undertook to request the Emergency Planning Officer to contact Councillor McHugh in this regard and if necessary, further discussion could be arranged.
Councillor C Kelly enquired if a similar template could be adopted for the purposes of dealing with snow and ice in conjunction with DfI.
The Head of Environment advised that Council currently had a Memorandum of Understanding with DfI together with an internal plan in respect of snow and ice. However, if required, this could be reviewed by Committee.
The Director of Environment and Regeneration stated that as Members were aware, Council had requested that an Adverse Weather Working Group be established and she understood this would be progressed by the Lead Assurance Officer and the Emergency Planning Officer. She suggested that any issues regarding weather could be addressed through that forum.
The Committee subsequently
Recommended that Members adopt the Flood Support document in respect of Council’s role during flooding events.