Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us »
Give us more information about flood emergencies
A FRUSTRATED councillor wants a comprehensive emergency flood plan created for Canvey to be used in the event of a natural disaster.
Neville Watson, Canvey Independent councillor for Canvey Winter Gardens ward, has slammed Castle Point Council for not doing enough to advise residents what to do in the event of a flood emergency.
Canvey is classified as Flood Risk Zone 3 by the Environment Agency, meaning it would be likely to suffer major flooding if defences were not in place.
The risk even meant there was a blanket ban on building on Canvey from 2006 until last year.
However, Mr Watson claims many islanders would have no idea what to do in the event of a flood.
He said: “Climate change is moving much quicker than we are. I am not saying we do not have good defences, but if something does happen, the question is, would people know what to do? I don’t think they would.
“It’s ridiculous. I have to teach my grandchildren to recite poetry, but not what to do if there was a flood.”
In Castle Point Council’s Emergency Plan, released in December 2010, two paragraphs are designated for what to do in the event of a flood.
The document, which is only available online, states: “Established warning systems and improvements to the tidal defences substantially reduced the risk of flooding to Canvey. However, if severe conditions were experienced, the community could be seriously affected.”
Mr Watson said: “The plan the council has in place is just not good enough, it does not give advice specific to the island.
“Years ago you used to get a booklet giving people advice, but you don’t get that any more, which is terrible.
“You cannot just assume people will know what to do. We have an emergency plan in place in our home, I even still keep food in my attic just in case, but unfortunately not every family does.”
Sirens have been removed in favour of a digital system, by which residents are alerted to any flood danger by text, e-mail and phone alerts. However, residents must sign up to the scheme to receive the alerts.
A spokesman for Castle Point Council said: “Every local authority must have an emergency plan to deal with a host of civil emergencies.
“General guidance provided to residents in the event of an emergency is to ‘stay in and tune in’ as local radio stations will keep them up to date with the situation.
“Guidance on what to do in an emergency has been provided at Neighbourhood Forums and at a Flood Fair on Canvey.”
You can also visit www.castle point.gov.uk and check under emergency planning