On Saturday 26 September 2015 a drop-in event was held in the Oakington Sports Pavilion to discuss the management of flood risk in Oakington. The event brought together organisations that have roles in flood risk management within Oakington. These are Anglian Water, Cambridgeshire County Council, Environment Agency, Homes & Communities Agency, Oakington & Westwick Parish Council, and South Cambridgeshire District Council. This was an opportunity for them to discuss their role and responsibilities in relation to flooding, explain their key activities in Oakington and explain how residents can play their part in managing flood risk.
Thank you to all the 42 residents that attended to make the event a success. From the feedback received, 80% of attendees were very happy that the event had met their expectations and 73% were very happy that all their questions had been answered. 33% of those who attended were interested in being part of a community flood group. Further feedback from the drop-in will be distributed to those who provided contact details at the event.
As a follow up to this and other recent flood risk management activities in Oakington, a meeting will be held in the coming weeks to discuss how the different organisations can take further action in partnership to manage flood risk.
1 Parish Council response to the Flood Risk Management event
It was a pleasure to see those residents who turned up at the 26 September event. We have taken away a number of issues raised by residents and will follow these up. The main issue is that of whether residents alongside the rivers and ditches have to maintain those rivers and ditches themselves, please see elsewhere in this supplement for our understanding of this.
Another issue is whether the village should have a flood group, by which it is usually meant a group that discusses what to do if there is ever another flood. The Parish Council does not believe this is necessary, for two reasons: A flood group deals with preparation, not prevention, and we believe that prevention is more important; we should try to stop any flood happening again rather than just plan to deal with it when it does. The Flood Mitigation Group has been set up to deal with the question of prevention and is already making good progress on this.
The Parish Council is about to publish its Emergency Plan for the village, which deals with preparation for a range of emergencies that are possible in this area, and is not just restricted to flooding. We feel this is a more useful approach. We are interested in hearing from residents who would be interested in helping in a range of possible emergencies, and who have skills or resources they could offer.
2 Flood Mitigation Group
Another activity that the Parish Council has undertaken along with the Flood Mitigation Group is a full inspection of Oakington Brook, along with others including representatives from the Environment Agency and the Homes and Communities Agency. We found that overall the state of the maintenance of the river was largely fair, with some exceptions where work was needed. The Environment Agency was fairly positive about finding ways to make a number of those improvements and we are hopeful this will happen within a few months.
There are other places where work would still be needed but would be much more expensive and disruptive, and we continue to discuss those, but overall there should be a respectable reduction in the risk of further flood damage for the next few years anyway.
We are very pleased to see signs of an increase in cooperative working between the various agencies and ourselves in recent months. This augers well for future improvements in the state of maintenance of the river and its future resilience against further flood events. We intend to continue to pursue such work until we believe the village is adequately protected and that this protection will continue across time. We are still keen to hear your views on the state of the rivers and ditches and if you observe anything that looks like a problem to you, do please report it to us as well as to any other authority such as the District Council or Environment Agency.
Mike Oakley, Chairman
2 in the coming weeks to discuss how the different organisations can take further action in partnership to manage flood risk. more information please contact: PSO-Brampton@environment-agency.gov.uk 03708 506 506 (Mon-Fri 8-6) Laura Farquhar Flood and Coastal Risk Management Officer Flood Resilience (Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire Area)
The history of watercourse management in Oakington
With Oakington being a low-lying and flood-prone area throughout history, it, along with other areas mainly in the local region, has been seen as an appropriate location for various special watercourse management provisions. These start in known history with the Oakington Enclosure Act 1834, which described the ownership of all pieces of land in the area, all public or private roads, and all the main watercourses in the village or “public drains” as it calls them. The following is an extract from the part of the 1834 Act relating to these drains, with minor drains omitted: Part of the Oakington Enclosure Act 1834 as approved by Parliament.