Malmesbury to have major incident plan

First published in News Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Tina Robins by

AN EXPERT who worked on the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings and Great Western Ambulance Service’s major incident scheme is to draw up an emergency plan for Malmesbury in the wake of last month’s floods.

The town council has agreed to ask former Metropolitan Police Chief Super Phil Selwood, who lives in the area, to lead a group that will create a response scheme that will help residents deal with anything from weather extremes and natural disasters to plane crashes.

Mayor Ray Sanderson told colleagues at a special meeting on Thursday that one of the town’s main employers had also offered to provide funding to find a solution to the flooding problem.

And the council agreed to set aside £5,000 of its own money, at the request of Cllr Simon Killane, to deal with future emergencies.

Cllr Killane said it was clear on November 25 that many residents were not on the Environment Authority’s risk register and did not receive the automated warning phone call. He said the council should make residents in the flood risk area aware of the register and ensure key community groups were also on it.

“I was absolutely amazed by the volunteers from the Warden and Freemen. We should have a group of people who are ready on hand to go out and help move people,” he suggested. “I think we as a council should get cracking on it as soon as possible.”

Chairman of the planning committee Cllr Bill Blake said they had been trying to move forward with a flood plan originally proposed at the beginning of November, but had difficulty finding someone to take it on.

Cllr Sue Poole, who lives in St John’s Street and saw her neighbour’s home said: “I am aware now that Wiltshire Council has a flood plan. I was not aware of that on Sunday morning. I didn’t know who to call, what the responsibilities were, what help I could have access to. I would like to have known that.

“For some considerable time now I have been collaring people from the Environment Agency and taking them round the rivers to show just how badly blocked they are with weeds, reeds and rubbish.”

“One of the reasons, I am convinced, that the flooding was as bad as it was, is because the river could not flow properly.”

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