Newark and Sherwood District Council look to form Trent Valley Consortium and Newark MP Robert Jenrick supports need for future flood defences after series of severe flooding in district during Storm Babet and Storm Henk
“Enough is enough”, a councillor has said after three major flooding events across the district in three months.
Now the water has receded, attention has turned to the need for defences to help protect communities from future flooding — expected to cost millions.
Around 200 homes in Newark and Sherwood have been flooded during and in the aftermath of Storm Henk, with thousands of residents affected by road closures, diverted council services, and transport disruption.
The River Trent at Farndon peaked at 2.66metres on Friday, just less that its record height in 2000, following flooding in October and December last year.
Newark and Sherwood District Council has begun the clean-up, and its plans to tackle the devastating flooding, including public meetings attended by cabinet members and a debrief of volunteers and flood wardens.
Paul Taylor, cabinet member for public protection and community relations, said: “The big thing [the council is doing] is looking at putting together a consortium for the Trent Valley. We can’t just look at this flood in isolation — it starts with the River Trent in Derbyshire all the way to Lincolnshire, through the heart of Nottinghamshire. The consortium will commission experts to come up with a long term plan.
“This will cost millions to sort but it must be done.”
Talks between council leader Paul Peacock and other affected authorities have already begun, with “very good” responses.
Where possible, it is hoped natural measures such as tree planting and reed beds can be deployed to manage flooding — however concern was raised by Mr Taylor that smaller hamlets which are badly affected may not be prioritised for defences due to the small number of properties involved.
Council officers are also visiting all affected houses in the district to get a picture of the impact of the floods and offer support.
While a steep cost is associated with protecting the district’s communities, flooding events too have a significant financial impact.
“This can’t wait, this is the third time in three months,” Mr Taylor added. “Each time it costs the people of Newark £100,000 to £150,000.”
Newark MP Robert Jenrick said: “These are definitely the worst floods for 25 years at least, certainly for the ten years I’ve been MP. Newark and villages along the Trent have always been at risk of flooding — but it does seem now the regularity and severity has increased.
“This winter has been particularly difficult for residents who have been flooded multiple times in a matter of weeks… no sooner had households started to recover from the previous floods they were affected again.
“It is starting to make life intolerable for some people in the area. We have to be both sympathetic and work on finding a practical solution.”
Grants are now available for households and businesses, Newark MP Robert Jenrick confirmed, having lobbied for the approval of the Flood Recovery Framework.
Mr Jenrick added: “I was very pleased that Environment Secretary, Steve Barclay, came to Newark on Saturday to meet with me and representatives of the Environment Agency to see how severe the flooding had been.
“I talked to him about some of the affected communities, including Hoveringham and Girton, and the urgent need for flood defences.”