Agenda item


Purpose of the report:  Scrutiny of Services


To provide an update on the major flooding that has affected the County and provide information on recovery work going forward.



Declarations of interest: None




Jason Russell, Assistant Director for Highways

Susie Kemp, Assistant Chief Executive

Ian Good, Head of Emergency Management


In attendance:


Mary Lewis

Christian Mahne

Denise Saliagopoulos


Key points raised during the discussion:


1.    The report was introduced by the Assistant Chief Executive, who provided some background information on the recent flood events and the move towards recovery, which involved restoring affected communities to ensure they are more resilient going forward.


2.    Surrey declared major incidents on 24 December 2013 and 9 February 2014. Mount Browne in Guildford was used as the main base for the flooding operation and was the key location where all agencies were based.


3.    The Chairman explained that the intention was to establish a Task Group where more detailed discussions would take place with officers, external agencies and Members severely affected by the flooding in the County.


4.    A Member queried the possibility of having a public meeting to discuss lessons learnt from the flooding. The Chairman explained that there was a possibility for members of the public to have some involvement with the work of the flooding Task Group. The Assistant Chief Executive explained that Spelthorne Borough Council had organised a public meeting on flooding for 5 June which officers from SCC would attend. It was commented that many of the local district and borough councils had set up public meetings and Members should contact them for further information. 


5.    The Assistant Director for Highways explained that a flood risk management strategy was currently in draft form and would be reviewed by the flooding Task Group before going to Cabinet for approval.


6.    Members of the committee agreed that they were kept well informed by officers on the flooding issues Surrey faced. It was recognised that good work had also been done to keep the Local Committees well informed.


7.    Concerns were raised around sluice gates. It was commented that although SCC was the lead authority responsible for flooding, the fault potentially lay with other agencies. The Assistant Chief Executive explained that the issue of sluice gates was bought up during a meeting of the strategic recovery group and was a key issue for all agencies involved with the flooding recovery.


8.    The Head of Emergency Management explained that a voluntary sector debrief had taken place but had not been well attended. The debrief gave everyone an opportunity to explain pressures and concerns faced during the flooding. Actions were taken away from the meeting and would be followed up on.


9.    A vote of thanks was given to all officers involved with the flooding during the crisis and recovery period.


10.  It was explained to Members that as part of the Flood and Water Management Act an investigation would need to be conducted on the flooding that occurred. It was most likely that the flooding was caused by the main rivers. The Environment Agency (EA) would conduct this investigation and feedback results in May.


11.  The Assistant Chief Executive explained that SCC led the multi agency communication strategy for the flooding and regularly updated twitter to let residents know what was happening.


12.  Members commented on the concerns with infrastructure that had come to light since the flooding. The Assistant Director for Highways stated that infrastructure was a significant issue which would be included as part of the long term planning for the Flood and Water Management Act. A key concern was that sewage and drains were not sealed and had not been designed to deal with the effects of major flooding.  Emerging issues from the flooding are still ongoing and it would take a few months before the full picture could be understood, although the current level of groundwater was regarded as a key cause 


13.  The Chairman explained that the flooding Task Group would produce an interim report which would be shared with the Committee for feedback.




a)    That the Environment and Transport Select Committee establishes a flooding Task Group to look at the flooding incident in detail.


b)    That the Select Committee give a vote of thanks to officers at all levels for their involvement in the response to the flood events.


Actions/further information to be provided:None.


Committee Next Steps:None.



Supporting documents: