News

Parish News 2024

 

Further Updates re Storm Henk from Essex County Council - Cllr Tom Cunningham

4th January 2024

 

Essex Highways' crews have been working extremely hard over the past 24 hours dealing with the impact of the storm on Essex. 

Yesterday and today, we have received more than 450 weather related enquiries, including reports of flooding, wind damage and more. 

In the 24 hours to 11am today, Wednesday 3rd Jan, we received around 800 enquiries in total. This is more than four times the amount seen over the same time period in early December. 

 

Our tree surgeon partners mobilised 12 crews overnight on Tuesday and attended more than 75 fallen trees across Essex. They have continued to attend incidents throughout today. 

 

Working with partners, including UK Power Networks, Essex Highways is clearing any issues as quickly as possible in order to get the roads across Essex moving safely again as soon as we can.

 

We would like to thank residents of Essex for their patience, and we are reminding them via multiple media posts, to take care when travelling on the roads in wet or windy conditions.

 

Members and Residents alike can report issues to us online, or by calling 0345 758 5592 if there is a risk to safety.

 

In addition to responding to the immediate impacts of the storm, Essex County Council has been working on a number of larger strategic pieces of work which are worth mentioning. 

 

We published our first tree strategy last year and now have a new tree management plan to manage trees effectively across our whole estate. This includes specific action on our highways, and we are delivering a five-year programme to map all the trees we manage on the public highway.  We are inspecting these trees every three years and are undertaking appropriate management action. This will significantly reduce the risk of falling trees in bad weather.

 

The impacts of climate changes are already with us, and we can expect increasing rainfall during the winter. With this comes increasing flood risk alongside more extreme weather events. We can also expect hotter, drier summers with increasing drought and subsidence as, despite the rain, we are an extremely water stressed area.  

 

It is therefore critical that we take action to help our landscape cope with these changing weather patterns. We need to equip our landscape to better absorb this rainfall when it arrives and store this water more effectively for when we need it in the summer.  Natural Green Infrastructure is key to tackling climate change in the county. Green Infrastructure, which includes trees, meadows, wetlands, and marshes absorbs carbon dioxide but also increases our resilience in the face of changing weather patterns. Planting more trees, creating more green space, rewilding and sustainable farming practices all helps our landscape absorb heavier rainfall. This reduces flood risks, prevents soil loss and damage, protects from overheating and stores water in the landscape, reducing water stress.

 

We therefore need to increase the amount of green infrastructure – sustainable drainage, meadows, and trees, in our towns, villages and in our rural areas. In support of this we are working with partners across Essex:

  • Essex flood capital programme – the council and external partners have invested around £4 million of capital funding in 2022/23, completing six schemes with two projects on site being constructed. The six completed schemes have provided increased flood risk benefits to 119 residential properties across Essex. A further eight schemes have been identified for the next financial year, which if successfully completed will bring in an estimated £2 million of external funding. The schemes this year include two raingarden projects, which provide much needed surface water flood risk reduction. They also provide environmental benefits such as habitat creation, improved water, and air quality. The council, working in partnership with Basildon Borough Council, have introduced two sections of raingarden on Tyrrells Road in Billericay. Another raingarden has been developed at Springfield Road on Canvey Island. Raingarden’s take excess water off the highway, where it will be stored, treated, and managed more efficiently. The town of Wivenhoe has been highlighted as an area of flood risk. We have worked with a landowner to deliver a leaky dam scheme designed to slow the flow of surface water and create extra storage by increasing capacity within the current ditch system.
  • The council has also been providing advice on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for new developments since 2011. On average we provide SuDS advice on 850 major planning applications each year. This results in 62,500 new properties receiving flood reduction expertise.
  • Essex County Council’s Essex Forest Initiative (EFI) has planted over 300,000 trees to date and will plant a further 100,000 trees in Essex 24/25.  EFI has seen 485 volunteers this winter, a six-fold increase since last year, which translates to a remarkable 2,425 volunteer hours spent planting and caring for new trees in Essex. The Essex Forest Partnership, which is led by us in partnership with, city, district, borough and parish councils, local charities and businesses, has an ambition to plant one million trees by 2030.
  • We are working with the Essex Nature Partnership to develop a new Local Nature Recovery Strategy for Greater Essex which will come out for consultation in the next year. The final document will set out the ambition for a greener, healthier Essex with space for wildlife and people, describing how we can deliver 30% of Essex as natural green infrastructure. Increasing green infrastructure captures carbon, reduces flood risk, overheating and soil degradation, while supporting pollinators crucial to farming.  Increasing green space for public access also benefits physical and mental health.
  • We are working with partners and landowners in the Climate Focus Area in northeast Essex (the catchment of the Blackwater and Colne) to drive greening faster. This includes:
    • Supporting the North Essex Farm Cluster to support farmers to share best practise on regenerative farming and better water management. 
    • Working with 3 parish councils to develop their own nature plans - we will be publishing the template to support others to do the same this year
    • Developing business cases with 4 Net Zero Innovation Futures estates to invest in more trees and meadows on their land which supports better water management, nature recovery and does so in a commercially viable way.  

 

You can find out more about some of our work in this area in the following videos:

 

Kind Regards,

 

Cllr Tom Cunningham C.C 

Cabinet Member for Highways, Infrastructure and Sustainable Transport.

Essex County Councillor for Braintree Town Division

Email: cllr.tom.cunningham@essex.gov.uk 

Website: www.essex.gov.uk

 

***********************************************************************************************************************************************

 

Storm Henk Update

January 3rd 2024

“Our crews have been working extremely hard over the past 24 hours dealing with the impact of Storm Henk on Essex.
“On Tuesday and Wednesday we received more than 450 weather related enquiries, including reports of flooding, wind damage and more.
“In the 24 hours to 11.00am on Wednesday, we received around 800 enquiries in total. This is more than four times the amount seen over the same time period in early December.
“Our tree surgeon partners mobilised 12 crews overnight on Tuesday and attended more than 75 fallen trees across Essex. They have continued to attend incidents throughout Wednesday.
“Working with partners, including UK Power Networks, we are working extremely hard to clear any issues as quickly as possible and get roads across Essex moving safely again as soon as possible.
“We would like to thank residents of Essex for their patience and remind them to take care when travelling on the roads in wet or windy conditions." Cllr Tom Cunningham, Cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Sustainable Transport.
You can report an issue to Essex Highways here: https://www.essexhighways.org/tell-us or by calling 0345 758 5592 if there is a risk to safety.
Night picture of road closed during Storm Henk