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Norfolk Strategic Flood Alliance formally adopts Strategy

18 October 2021

The Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance (NSFA) has formally adopted an overall Strategy, designed to enable county wide responses to flooding across all agencies involved.

The Strategy, which lays out the NSFA’s vision, objectives, approach and structure, is a major milestone in the development of the Alliance, which was founded earlier this year to bring together all agencies and partners involved in planning for and responding to flooding in Norfolk.

The Strategy’s formal adoption comes on the day of the NSFA’s first joint exercise, Exercise TEMPESTAS, which examined in depth how the NSFA’s members will work together in the face of a major flooding incident, from the initial Met Office Flood Warning through to the Recovery phase. The exercise allowed Alliance Members to assess their readiness for flooding and to identify any weaknesses to be addressed or opportunities that could be taken to ensure all members are ready to work closely in the event of flooding this winter.

The Alliance’s Strategy is also accompanied by an Action Plan that identifies what steps the NSFA and its members are taking to address the risk of flooding. This includes work on individual sites across Norfolk, looking at working out costed solutions to address flood risk on each site and identify potential funding for each one: this work is already underway on an initial selection of sixteen flood sites in Norfolk, with a second tranche of sites being considered.

Over recent weeks all of the members of the NSFA have ratified the Strategy, setting the Alliance on firm footing as it moves into its first autumn and winter. The focus of the NSFA is to drive collective ownership of flood risks and work collaboratively to minimise the impacts.

General Lord Richard Dannatt, Chair of the NSFA, said: “This Strategy shows the hard work that’s gone into the NSFA’s mission since it was founded earlier this year: as we move into the Alliance’s first winter, it puts us in a strong position to continue pushing for the investment and the joined up thinking needed to tackle flood risk in our county. Our first exercise, TEMPESTAS, has put that joined up thinking to the test, and will help us identify how we can be better prepared and what new opportunities for partnership working the Alliance has given us.

“But local preparedness and planning is only part of what’s needed: we will also be making the case to the government that the Planning system needs to recognise the importance of ensuring that development does not exacerbate the risk of flooding, either to existing residents and businesses or new ones. Addressing flooding and flood risk is something that needs coherent action from the parish level right up to the government.”

The Strategy sets out the NSFA’s vision, to coordinate the actions of all parties involved in flood response, from the statutory authorities, through to commercial companies, land owners and local communities. The aim is to ensure the people of Norfolk have confidence that flood risks are as low as reasonably practicable and will be well managed.

To achieve this, the Strategy also provides a clear approach and structure for the Alliance, to allow all its members to work together confidently and coherently both to address flood risk and to respond to flooding itself.

Peter Simpson, CEO of Anglian Water said, “The Norfolk Strategic Flooding Alliance has done a fantastic job bringing together all agencies across Norfolk who have the responsibility to tackle flooding. The strategy shows how vital collaborative working is to address the growing challenges we face from a changing climate. Flooding is a complex issue, and only by coming together can we work collectively to identify the most suitable investment opportunities to mitigate future risk.

“We know the East of England will be affected by climate change more keenly than anywhere else in the UK, which is why we’ve made a commitment to building a resilient water and waste water network fit for the future. As part of the NSFA, we’ll continue to work with others to ensure the best outcome for local communities across Norfolk.”

The adoption of the strategy comes a month after Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet agreed the allocation of a £1.5m flood reserve fund, including funding for several aspects of the NSFA’s work.

As autumn sets in, the single phone number set up by the NSFA to give Norfolk residents one point of contact to report flooding is expected to see increased use. The number is available for anyone wishing to report flooding anywhere in the county: they can simply call 0344 800 8013.

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