Reconnecting communities after the flood

With studies suggesting that over 1.6 million residential and commercial addresses could be at risk of flooding by 2050, local authorities are forming emergency flood response plans now, ready for if the worst does happen. When it comes to helping reconnect communities and lessen the damage caused following a serious flood event, temporary works solutions can play a major part. 

While Britain’s weather has always been known as predominantly mild, over recent years it has become steadily more adverse. Facing multiple storms on a yearly basis, it has become an almost predictable norm that the country will face some form of extreme weather event. February 2022 alone saw three major storms, Storm Dudley, Eunice and Franklin, cause damage across England and Wales - the likes of which hadn’t been seen since 2014. The combined financial impact of these three storms is estimated to be around £500 million, with almost 177,000 claims made regarding damaged homes, businesses and vehicles. With this in mind, it is of no surprise that local authorities are placing a greater focus on emergency flood response protocols.

At first glance, this could seem a daunting and complex prospect. However, by having a comprehensive contingency plan compiled, local authorities are ensuring that they are able to enact an effective emergency flood response when called upon. This could include identifying a temporary works specialist that has the experience and engineering expertise to ensure the authority can respond quickly to any damage to infrastructure that occurs from an extreme weather situation.

Whenever there is a major flooding event, our TV screens are inundated with videos of damaged bridges and swollen rivers. Given the power that water can generate, it is no surprise that bridges can become unstable, be damaged or even collapse entirely. This is a serious cause for concern, with a bridge forming an essential part of a community’s infrastructure. Especially in more rural areas, the loss of a bridge can be extremely detrimental, especially for the people in that area. Not only are they used as a way in or out of an area, whether for residents, deliveries or other traffic, bridges can also carry essential services and utilities across the water, from water and gas pipes to fibre optic cables.

Given the potential for a community to be cut off entirely, obtaining a temporary works solution fast is vital. In this case, local authorities may look to work closely with a temporary works supplier who can quickly engineer, deliver and install a bespoke temporary bridge – one that has been designed to fulfil whatever purpose is required of it. For example, it could be a pedestrian or road bridge, as well as having the capacity to carry the aforementioned essential services; thus, reconnecting the community and lessening the damage caused.

In addition, emergency flooding solutions can also stretch further than the design and supply of a temporary bridge. When riverbanks have already burst or a local authority is working to prevent further collapse from happening, a reactive solution is critical to minimise further damage. Here, groundworks support solutions, such as trench sheets and sheet piles, can be used to help shore up a river or canal bank.

Similarly, having access to innovative temporary monitoring solutions can also be extremely valuable in these emergency situations, whether that’s to monitor a damaged riverbank or to detect a rise in water levels. Providing these types of services can give accurate and up-to-the-minute data, adding an early warning system and making it easier to plan emergency evacuations, if needed.

As flooding becomes more and more of a local issue for many communities, there is an increasing need to prepare for the worst. One constant throughout any flood response is the need for speed; therefore, working with a temporary works specialist with the knowledge and ability to react fast is critical. With people’s lives and livelihoods at risk, providing access to the best possible support is a top priority. Our emergency team of engineers ensures that this support is never too far away, as well as having access to one of the industry’s most comprehensive range of temporary works equipment and a dedicated in-house installation team.

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