“Clearly, something went wrong in Horncastle,” senior Lincolnshire county councillors said as they promised to investigate the Storm Babet flooding impact “without fear or favour”. Updating the authority’s Economy and Environment Committee on Tuesday, Executive Councillor Colin Davie revealed that more than 600 individual flooding reports were under investigation.
Of these, the council has confirmed more than 200 internal flooding incidents. However, he was clear that this number is set to rise. “It was a very mega event on Friday. The intensity of rainfall was biblical, but it’s not the first time we’ve had so much rain,” said Councillor Davie.
“We have a new pattern of weather that’s going to impact the way we need to do business in the future. There have been a lot of concerns around Horncastle in relation to what happened with the flood mitigation scheme there.
“Quite clearly something went wrong in Horncastle, the Louth [flood defences] worked and adequately protected that community. There needs to be a full review and it needs to be open and it needs to be transparent so the public and businesses can see what went on and how it’s going to be fixed for the future.
“I will also it to be widened to ensure that the intelligence we received for that storm was properly managed within the partnership working of flooding drainage across the county we should learn from it. We do all work in partnership, but that does not mean that if things have gone wrong we should not be scared of criticising a partner.”
Councillor Tom Ashton, chair of the Flood Risk and Water Management Committee, will lead the investigation. He said the council would have “a proper and open mind” as it went forward, and was keen to ensure that as much of the investigation took place in public so local communities could watch.
“If there are criticisms to be had of partner organisations, there is to be no fear or favour in doing that,” he said.
Despite calls for immediate answers, the committee’s first meeting is scheduled for November, with sub-groups handling various aspects. Although investigations could take a while, he added: “I’m assured that our team here will be working as hard as they possibly can to get to the bottom of each and every one of those investigations, understanding what went wrong.”
Meanwhile, he urged residents to monitor weather warnings and stay updated through local authority sites and media. During the meeting, councillors voiced their concerns but also highlighted successful schemes.
Councillor Alison Austin noted the effectiveness of a flood resilience scheme in Kirton, mentioning the town remained “bone dry”. They expressed sympathy for residents impacted by the floods, with Councillor Ian Carrington saying: “To all residents and businesses alike affected by the flooding, there is simply nothing more soul-destroying than a home or business being flooded out.
“We all know the amount of time it takes to recover from that. The message that I would like to put out from this committee is one of support and sympathy to all our residents who have been affected.” He expressed gratitude to everyone working tirelessly to alleviate the situation across the county.