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Crews work tirelessly to tackle heavy rain following Storm Henk

4:23 pm, Thursday, 4th January 2024 - 2 months ago

Environment and community safety

North East Lincolnshire Council crews have been working hard to tackle the issues caused by heavy rainfall following Storm Henk.

Teams from the authority and its delivery partner Equans were called to areas across the borough to deal with ‘ponding’ – when excess water causes ponds to form – as well as blocked gullies and drains. As a result, some villages, low lying areas and green spaces, including popular parks, and the two cemeteries in Grimsby and Cleethorpes, have been affected.

Operational crews have been called to 38 separate incidents involving blocked gullies and drains over the past 48 hours. Seven have been referred to engineers for further works whilst 31 have been dealt with and completed upon arrival.

The village of Ashby cum Fenby was one area that was visited. It experienced three incidents of flooding, which was restricted to roadways with no properties at risk.  A crew, along with flooding specialists, visited the village during the most intense period of rain on Tuesday and have already outlined a series of improvements as a result.

Those works are expected to take place in the coming months. However, a spokesperson stressed how it was important that people understand that no amount of work in any area will totally prevent the risk of flooding.

“When there are prolonged periods of rain like we have experienced this week, the intensity risks overwhelming any system that is in place. No system comes with a guarantee that there will be no more flooding.

“In the current climate of rainfall and the levels we have seen, our gullies and drains are working at capacity to cope with the prolonged weather,” added the spokesperson.

Grimsby and Cleethorpes Cemeteries have also been affected by the rainfall, experiencing ponding and large amounts of standing water. Grimsby’s lies below sea level and with the water table being extremely high, the land is struggling to cope with the unprecedented amounts of rain.

As teams work to restore drainage to full working order, people, for their own safety, are advised not to visit either Grimsby or Cleethorpes Cemeteries. The council will keep people updated at Bereavement services | NELC (nelincs.gov.uk) and does apologise, especially to those who wish to visit the resting places of loved ones.

In the meantime it is suggested that people visit the Book of Remembrance at the main building at Grimsby Crematorium or go online at Grimsby Crematorium Book of Remembrance (remembrance-books.com) A ‘person’ epitaph can be inscribed in the book beneath the name of the deceased.

The physical Book of Remembrance is a permanent memorial that is displayed every day of the year at the Crematorium and is open daily Monday to Friday. No appointment is needed to view it. People who wish to view a page other than the one on display, should contact one of the chapel attendants to turn the pages. On weekends and bank holidays the Book of Remembrance can also be seen digitally outside of the Crematorium building.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, Portfolio Holder fort Environment and Transport said: “With regard to the Crematoriums, our heartfelt sympathises go out to anyone who is restricted from visiting, with the issues caused by the prolonged heavy rainfall across the borough. However, people’s safety has to be the main priority which is why we are asking people to refrain from visiting in the very immediate future.”

Speaking about the flooding in general, Cllr Swinburn added: “Heavy rain brings with it many hazards and dangers and as our climate changes across the whole of the country, this is likely to continue. Our crews do everything they possibly can to work with our partners, including the Environment Agency and the emergency services, to respond to calls for support and help and we all thank them for that.

“It is vital that as we carry out this work, people do take notice of the warnings and advice that is issued and ensure they are safe. It is a difficult and stressful time for everyone who is affected, and we are doing all we can. However, in times of such heavy and persistent rainfall, whatever measures are taken are sometimes not enough as drainage systems, gullies and land are simply overwhelmed by the sheer amount of water. As we have witnessed this week, this has happened right across the country,” he said.

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