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Commitment made to Maghull communities for strengthened flood risk management

Sefton Council, the Environment Agency and United Utilities have signed a joint statement of intent to reassure Maghull communities that they are continuing to work together to explore solutions to reduce the risk of flooding.

The statement strengthens the collaborative approach already undertaken to manage and reduce flood risk, further prompted by weather events in January. A major incident was declared due to significant rainfall brought by Storm Christoph on Wednesday 20th January 2021 which also saw the Environment Agency issue two Severe Flood Warnings in Maghull, covering 439 properties within the flood warning area.

The predicted flooding did not happen as expected but the incident highlighted the need for all three organisations to come together to find deliverable improvements that make a significant difference for the community.

Council Leader, CEO, Green Sefton colleague and Environment Agency partner at the River Alt in Maghull
Council Leader, CEO, Green Sefton colleague and Environment Agency partner at the River Alt in Maghull, January 2021

All three organisations have sought to manage the risks through a range of means to date including routine maintenance, capital investments, improvements to warning and informing residents as well as planning control. Alongside the statement of intent, a new flood risk working group will also be established with representation from all three agencies.

Cllr John Fairclough, Deputy Leader of Sefton Council and Chair of the new working group, said: “Flood risk is a serious issue for residents across the Borough and something that our officers are dedicated to finding both short and long-term solutions for through our flood risk management strategy.  Over the past decade due to a combination of severe weather events and instances occurring from rivers, sewers and surface water, we’ve seen significant issues in not just Maghull, but across Sefton.

“But now more needs to be done, and a working group led by the Council will seek to find and drive investment into flood risk management across the whole Borough of Sefton. An essential part of this requires collaborative work alongside partners, to share expertise and to identify actions that can be taken individually and collectively to reduce this risk. I am confident that the establishment of the new working group, and confirmation of our joint commitment through the statement of intent, will explore and identify feasible solutions that are needed by all.”

Andy Brown, Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for Lancashire, said: “Across England, we’re working to better protect communities from the risk of flooding and make homes and businesses better prepared and more resilient through our long-term FCERM strategy. Alongside our partners we have already taken a number of steps to reduce the risk of flooding across Sefton such as routine maintenance activity, investment in flood defences and improvements to our warning and informing service.

“We are committed to joining up further and feel that a working group, with input from all risk management authorities, is a good way forward. Together, we can better identify all possible actions, large or small, to reduce flood risk and we hope this will help to reassure local communities.”

Jo Harrison, Director of Environment, Planning and Innovation at United Utilities, said: “We continue to invest in the sewer network across Sefton, including work in Maghull, involving a £4 million project in the Rock View area to help reduce the risk of sewer flooding, which is nearing completion.

“However, storm flooding is a complex issue with no simple answer. The drainage network includes pumping stations, culverts, watercourses, sewers and highway drains all operating and interacting together but under the responsibility of different agencies.

“Collaboration is key and we remain absolutely committed to working with the Lead Local Flood Authority (Sefton Council) and the Environment Agency to ensure issues are investigated thoroughly and measures are put in place to minimise the risk of flooding, to help protect the community.”

The statement can be read in full on the Sefton Council website