Councils grappling with storm damage

28 Oct 13
Councils across southern England and Wales are squaring up to the aftermath of the worst storm to hit the country in almost three decades

The Local Government Association said staff had been redeployed from their usual duties to help remove fallen trees, clear roads and fix damaged property.

LGA chair Sir Merrick Cockell said: ‘Council workers are out in force right across the country clearing the roads and checking in on vulnerable residents to make sure they are okay.’

‘Staff are being diverted from lower-priority duties to deal specifically with the aftermath of the storm and significant headway has already been made clearing away fallen trees and helping residents fix damaged property.’

He paid tribute to those council workers who volunteered to come in overnight to help emergency teams.

The storm, dubbed St Jude, blew through southern areas of England and Wales overnight and into the morning causing widespread disruption. Many train services have been cancelled, flights grounded and hundreds of thousands of homes are thought to be without power.

Council crews from Torbay in the Southwest to Kent in the Southeast have been working through the night removing fallen trees and branches and keeping roads clear. Many authorities have also put their housing services on standby to help people who may have found themselves temporarily homeless due to the impact of the storm.

Network Rail said the effects of the severe weather were being dealt with as planned over the weekend. Robin Gisby, managing director of network operations, said several hundred staff had been on duty throughout the night to monitor conditions and react to damage and disruption.

He said: ‘While conditions were as forecast during the early part of the morning, the damage caused by the storm has been more severe than expected as it has tracked eastwards to the north of London and across to East Anglia.’

As well as obstructions caused by fallen trees, Gisby said the network was also dealing with signalling problems triggered by power failures.

The Association of British Insurers said it was too early to estimate how much the damage caused by St Jude might cost. But it added that the storm of 1987 cost around £2bn in today’s prices, while the 2007 floods cost more than £3bn.

‘Insurers are well used to dealing with these types of events and will be putting all their effort into helping all of their customers affected,’ the ABI said.


CIPFA logo

PF Jobsite logo

Did you enjoy this article?