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Storm Babet

Latest information for those impacted by Storm Babet, covering planned flood investigations and grants

Storm Babet has had a large impact on many hundreds of households and businesses, Suffolk County Council is now in the recovery phase which involves working with our partners to deliver the government’s Flood Recovery Framework grants as well as starting the process of investigating the most significant impacts.

Flood Investigations

What are they?

Suffolk County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority has a duty (under Section 19 of the Flood and Water management Act 2010) to undertake flood investigations (sometimes referred to as Section 19 investigations) following significant flood events. Investigations following Storm Babet will occur in locations which meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Internal flooding of one property (domestic or business) on more than one occasion
  • Internal flooding to five or more properties in a specific location
  • Major transport route closed for more than 10 hours

We are not currently able to undertake investigations for areas that do not meet these criteria or where the impact is restricted to gardens, outbuildings or a garage.

The investigations will be undertaken in partnership with the local community and the resulting reports will:

  • highlight the probable causes of flooding;
  • identify options to reduce future flood risk and increase property resilience; and
  • make recommendations for actions by relevant responsible organisations, landowners or homeowners.

The results of the investigations may reveal opportunities for the council and other responsible organisations (such as the Environment Agency), landowners and homeowners to implement works to increase resilience to flooding. The Council has no powers to require any of the responsible bodies to take action.

For more information on the Flood Investigation process and templates visit the published reports 

What is the current situation?

Over 40 communities within Suffolk have reached the criteria for an investigation by the Council, with over 750 properties across Suffolk confirmed to have been internally flooded. The number of investigations and internally flooded properties is likely to rise whilst we continue to process data. It is estimated between 60-80 investigations may be required, which compares to 3-4 in a normal year. The flood investigations and their priority order for completion is based on the number of known internally flooded properties in a specific location. Due to the number of investigations to be completed, SCC is currently recruiting additional staff and collaborating with the Environment Agency, who will act as the lead authority in locations where this is determined as the best use of available resources.

The most significantly impacted communities and the lead authority summarised below. This table details communities with 5 or more confirmed internally flooded properties. The table will be updated regularly to reflect any new data processed by the Council.

  Location  Lead Authority

1

Framlingham

Environment Agency

2

Debenham

Environment Agency

3

Needham Market

Environment Agency

4

Wickham Market

Environment Agency

5

Hoxne

Suffolk County Council

6

Wetheringsett Cum Brockford

Suffolk County Council

7

Worlingworth

Suffolk County Council

8

Charsfield

Suffolk County Council

9

Parham

Suffolk County Council

10

Framsden

Suffolk County Council

11

Hacheston

Suffolk County Council

12

Stowmarket

Suffolk County Council

13

Walsham-le-Willows

Suffolk County Council

14

Witnesham

Suffolk County Council

15

Marlesford

Suffolk County Council

16

Dennington

Suffolk County Council

17

Great Bealings

Suffolk County Council

18

Long Melford

Suffolk County Council

19

Tunstall

Suffolk County Council

20

Yoxford

Suffolk County Council

21

Hundon

Suffolk County Council

22

Bredfield

Suffolk County Council

23

Kettleburgh

Suffolk County Council

24

Cavendish

Suffolk County Council

25

Great Glemham

Suffolk County Council

26

Earl Soham

Suffolk County Council

27

Martlesham

Suffolk County Council

28

Grundisburgh

Suffolk County Council

29

Clopton

Suffolk County Council

30

Hadleigh

Suffolk County Council

31

Kersey

Suffolk County Council

32

Occold

Suffolk County Council

33

Somersham

Suffolk County Council

34

Stonham Aspal

Suffolk County Council

35

Stowupland

Suffolk County Council

36

Ufford

Suffolk County Council

37

Wattisfield

Suffolk County Council

38

Winston

Suffolk County Council

39

Easton

Suffolk County Council

40

Clare

Suffolk County Council

41

Cretingham

Suffolk County Council

42 

Crowfield 

Suffolk County Council 

43

Hepworth 

Suffolk County Council 

44

Letheringham 

Suffolk County Council

45

 Mendlesham

Suffolk County Council 

46 

Rickinghall

Suffolk County Council 

47

Sweffling

Suffolk County Council 

48

Bruisyard

Suffolk County Council 

How long will it take?

Investigations comprise of multiple stages that include: data collection, engagement with communities and Risk Management Authorities (any organisations that has legal responsibilities to manage flood risk), option considerations and publication of the final report.

The scale of the task to complete the number of investigations related to Storm Babet is significant and it will take an extended period of time to complete them all and publish the results – up to 2 years. The table above is a guide to indicate which areas are likely to have investigations started first and which may have to wait for the work to commence. When the investigation is ready to begin in a specific location the lead authority (either Suffolk County Council or the Environment Agency) will make contact with the community.

We acknowledge that some communities wish to pursue flood resilience works, perhaps sooner than an investigation will be completed. The benefit of waiting for the official investigation is that a dedicated investigations officer will be able to review all the available evidence, engage with relevant risk management authorities/landowners and detail suitable options, highlighting any potential measures that could receive government funding. Should you wish to commence works without the support of the lead authority, communities should be mindful of the consents and permissions that are likely to be required prior to works commencing.

What could my community do in the meantime?

The first stage of the investigation is evidence collection, to capture information about where the water came from, what happened during the event, where and how locations were impacted - referred to as ‘source, pathway and receptor’. The Council has produced a template to allow communities to capture this key information in a way that is consistent with the investigation documentation.

If communities begin collating this information, it can save the investigation team a significant amount of time. We would encourage communities to begin capturing this evidence ready for when the team contact the community.

If you would like a copy of this template please email: floods@suffolk.gov.uk.

Flood Recovery Framework Grants

The government uses the Flood Recovery Framework to make funding available to communities following specific storm events that result in severe flooding.

Initial Recovery Grant

The government made initial grants available, plus discounts to council tax and businesses rates for properties impacted by Storm Babet. Suffolk County Council worked with district councils to identify eligible households/businesses and made payments as quickly as possible. Final payments to eligible properties have now been completed in line with the government deadline. The Council is unable to process any new applications.

Property Flood Resilience Grant

An additional element of this framework is the Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Grant which the government requires Suffolk County Council to administer on their behalf.

The Council is now administering the PFR grant application process to comply with government requirements, this will be open until early 2025. All properties that were reported to the Council, via the Highways Reporting Tool in 2023 and were judged eligible, will receive a direct communication via post or email about the application process.

In summary, eligible property owners (both domestic and commercial) can apply for up to £5,000 (including VAT) to help make their property more resilient to future flooding. Up to £500 of the grant can be used to contribute towards survey costs.

Property owners will be responsible for sourcing their owner surveyor and grants of up to £5,000 incl. VAT (including survey costs) will be paid retrospectively to the property owner, once the Council receives proof of the completed installation and invoicing for the approved measures.

Further information into the grant eligibility and conditions can be found, here: Property flood resilience grant - Suffolk County Council.

Useful Information

We urge people to prepare to act when at risk of flooding. People can find out if their home is at risk, sign-up for flood warnings and be ready to take action.