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Emergency Planning

In May Rattlesden hit the headlines when, after torrential overnight rain, the River Rat burst its banks and the village was cut off from the outside world. Of greater concern to many residents was the rising water which threatened to flood those lower lying properties near the river. They were only able to watch helplessly as the water rose nearer to their properties. Fortunately, just as the water was reaching some thresholds, the flood started to recede and as quickly as the river rose, so it cleared. We are assured no sluices were opened and there was no intervention along the river so must be grateful that no houses were flooded. Throughout the Christmas period we had heavy rain and a flood alert was in place ... this time the river did not flood. However following the melting of the January snow and heavy overnight rain we had flooding again in late January with Lower Road flooded in front of St Nicholas Close. Although a couple of cars failed to negotiate the flood, no properties were damaged. So the river has burst its banks many times in the past and is sure to do so in the future and we should not rely on the rain stopping just in time to help us in the future.

Suffolk County Council, Mid Suffolk District Council & the various agencies have and continue to try and understand how flooding at this level occurs, but their main concern is Stowmarket & Needham Market. In the absence of any clear support from elsewhere, Rattlesden Parish Council decided to form our own working party to organise help and support for residents who suffer from the threat of flooding and would like to involve any villager who has an interest.

An initial meeting took place in the Village Institute on Wednesday 5th December and it was resolved to acquire sufficient sandbags to offer about 10 to each to the occupiers of the properties considered by the Environment Agency to be at greatest risk.

Early in January the working party got together and about 150 bags were distributed. Thanks to Chard, George, Dan and Rodney for helping us.

The next step will be to see if those with a lesser threat would like sandbags and arrange another distribution. For those unable to join us but needing information, here is a link which may be useful in providing guidance on what actions to take in the event of flooding, and how to receive Environment Agency flood alerts.

Looking to the future the working party hope to lobby the Environment Agency and the County Council to prevent the flooding ... i.e. can the volumes which cause the River Rat to flood be controlled in some way, away from the village centre.

All residents of the village are welcome to support the group and in particular we would like to see those who are most concerned about the threat to their own property. Next Meeting to be end of February ... watch this space

Contacts:

Pauline Baker 01449 736914

Russell Morley 01449 736087