Serving the people of Knebworth

County Council urges government to combat flooding


A senior politician from Hertfordshire County Council has written to Government Ministers urging them to take action and help tackle flooding in the county.

Flooding is a significant problem in the county. Despite being the Lead Local Flood Authority we only have a limited amount of funding available and our powers of enforcement and influence are restricted.

We would like to be in a position to do more to help so this week Derrick Ashley, Cabinet Member Environment, Planning and Transport has written to Secretary of State Liz Truss and Flooding Minister Rory Stewart asking them to consider new introducing new measures to tackle surface water flooding in areas like Hertfordshire.

Cllr Ashley said: "I've written to the Government asking for additional funding, a quicker and simpler bidding process for small scale schemes to mitigate flooding, and more powers to tackle flooding."

"We have to be realistic. As a local authority we have limited responsibility and flooding is not always preventable. When there are long periods of wet weather or sudden, heavy downpours it is inevitable that there will be some flooding but the council is eager to take steps which reduce the impact and likelihood of flooding causing damage or disruption."

Derrick's letter raises the concern that government funding only seems to be considered in response to national scale emergencies such as the Boxing Day floods and stresses the need for separate funding to tackle longer term, chronic flooding caused by rainfall.

"In Hertfordshire there are more homes potentially at risk from surface water flooding than from river flooding and to protect our residents, we think that a greater share of this money needs to be made available to smaller local schemes that would help us tackle problems quickly and make a significant difference to our area."

The letter sets out four measures which the council believes would help combat flooding in Hertfordshire. These are;

  • Make additional funding available to tackle surface water which is having a serious impact on the state of our roads
  • Set aside funding (separate to that provided for major flooding incidents) specifically for combatting chronic surface water flooding
  • Create a quicker and simpler bidding process, enabling local authorities to identify areas of need and provide assistance more quickly
  • Require planning authorities to report back to government when they disregard Lead Local Flood Authority advice on flood risk

"If left unaddressed I fear that the situation will become increasingly bleak. With a relatively small amount of rainfall creating serious problems on our road network as well as for private and commercial properties. I am confident that the government will understand our concerns and I look forward to working with them to develop a strategy in the coming months. In the meantime, we are committed to combatting flooding wherever possible."


For further comment contact Derrick Ashley via the press office on 01992 556 959

Flooding fact file

If you are concerned about flooding in your area there's lots of advice on our website

We would encourage members of the public to plan ahead and where practical take measures to protect yourself and your property from flooding. There's lots of advice and information on our website at

Residents should report any incidents of flooding or debris on the highway that they believe to be hazardous at

There are several organisations, including Hertfordshire County Council, which have responsibility for other flooding issues:

To find out if your property is at risk search your postcode on the

Environment Agency flood maps on

If flooding is causing a risk to life call the emergency services on 999.

Questions about river flooding should be directed to Floodline on 0345 9881188.

If a sewer is flooding call the water company – this is likely to be either Thames Water on 0800 3169800 or, if you are north of Stevenage, Anglian Water on 08457 145145.

Ed Blackwell
Communications Officer

Posted: Thu, 25 Feb 2016 16:25 by Knebworth Parish Council

Tags: Development