Cumbria Floods November 2009 – Local Impact and Actions
Source: Cumbria County Council (24/11/09)
A huge multi-agency recovery effort is already beginning to make a real difference to communities
suffering severe disruption from the floods which hit the county last Thursday. The county council
continues to have a close dialogue with Government departments to get commitments that the
costs of recovery and replacements of infrastructure will be met.
This morning just five schools remained shut, although two more primary schools closed early
today as a precautionary measure against the expected further heavy rainfall. This morning children
who are unable to cross the River Derwent to get to their nearby school suffered severe disruption
when travelling on the Papcastle Bridge diversion. We are looking at ways to improve the travel time.
Very heavy rainfall with a maximum of 100mm is expected from 7pm this evening until 3am, with river
levels expected to peak in the early hours. The Environment Agency are continually checking river
levels and the integrity of flood defences.
ROADS, BRIDGES AND TRANSPORT:
The public are being urged to drive with care and not to attempt to circumnavigate road closure signs.
Anyone found attempting to remove a road closure sign would be immediately reported to the police.
The current situation is that twenty-one road bridges in the county remain closed. Three road
bridges have collapsed and a further five are classed as 'badly damaged'. A further eight
footbridges are closed, four of these have collapsed.
Highways engineers are continuing to check bridges across the county. A major obstacle to doing this
is the continued high level of water and strong river flows which means divers cannot access the
water to assess damage to foundations and underwater parts of the bridge structures.
Further movements were reported at the Calva Bridge in Workington this morning, with the bridge
appearing to have dropped several inches at first light. It remains extremely unstable and the public
must stay away from the bridge and surrounding river banks. If it does collapse, then telephone
communications would be lost to 3,000 homes north of the river as the bridge carries cables across
the river. People are therefore urged to consider contingency arrangements in case they did need
to make an emergency 999 call: keep mobile phones charged and those people who do not have a
mobile phone should talk to neighbours about whether they have one in an emergency.
The number one priority in restoring the county's infrastructure is to restore links between north and
south Workington via a temporary bridge. The county council's highways team is working round the
clock to come up with the best solution. Local people will be informed as soon as it is clear what will
be built and when it will be operational. In the meantime we would urge people to please be patient
given the understandably heavy traffic using the diversion at Papcastle.
The recovery effort is also focussing on public transport plans with rail services and Stagecoach
bus providers. Northern Rail is currently running a normal timetable from Workington and is
strengthening individual services with extra carriages where possible. Network Rail will start work
tonight to build a temporary railway station on the north side of the River Derwent at Workington.
The new station will be built on wasteland just over half a mile to the north of the existing station,
reconnecting the two halves of the town that have been cut off. It's hoped that this will be up and
running by the weekend. We are also looking to improve the shelter facilities at Flimby and Maryport
stations in light of the fact that more people are using the service.
RECOVERY FUND AND VOLUNTEERS:
At the moment the Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund Appeal 2009 stands at £355,000. Cumbria
Community Foundation launched the appeal to help support individuals and communities affected by
the floods. Anyone wishing to make a donation can visit the Cumbria County Council website
homepage. From today the appeal has been in a position to make firm offers of support to voluntary
and community organistions leading the relief effort.
Meanwhile the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has confirmed a pledge of up to
£1 million for small businesses hit by the floods. The NWDA has been working closely with
Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Government Office North West
(GONW) to offer support to assist businesses which are suffering.
Both the county and district councils have been receiving numerous offers of help from the public and
businesses. Those wanting more information are asked to contact the recovery team via email
All county council library and archive services remain open as normal, except for:
- Cockermouth Library which is closed due to flood damage
- Ulverston Library and Keswick library are being used as Flood Support Centres
- Seaton Library, which is open 24/7 as a contact point staffed by a radio operator centre
- Workington and Whitehaven mobile libraries are being used as information centres
To assist with the recovery stage of the floods across the county, one hour free internet access per
day is being made available for residents and businesses affected by the floods. This is being
provided at all libraries in Allerdale and South Lakes as well as Whitehaven, Barrow, Penrith and
*Workington health provision:
Extra GP clinics are being held at both Northside Community Centre and Firth House, Seaton for
people who need to see a GP and are unable to get to their own GP surgery. People’s own GPs will
also be able to advise how people can pick up a repeat prescription.
Drop-in clinics are available all week at: Northside Community Centre, Firth House.
*Cockermouth health provision:
South Street Surgery and Derwent House Surgery have relocated to Cockermouth community
hospital. Both surgeries will operate an appointment and drop-in clinic service.
Vaccination programme for essential workers- all essential workers involved in the flood rescue and
recovery work in Cockermouth are being invited to attend a special vaccination clinic on Wednesday
afternoon and Thursday. The seasonal flu, swine flu and pneumococcal vaccinations is being offered
to all key workers involved in the recovery operation. This includes police officers, fire officers,
volunteers, council workers, healthcare workers and media covering the story amongst others.
FLOOD SUPPORT CENTRES:
Flood support centres are still open in Cockermouth, Workington and Keswick and are experiencing
a steady stream of people looking for advice on housing, insurance and other issues related to
getting back on their feet.
The flood support centres are also a place where people can charge their mobile phones for free,
register for free bulky waste collection and ask any questions about the difficulties they're
The flood support centres are in the following locations: Cockermouth, Workington, Keswick,
A special newsletter for those affected by the floods is being distributed at the flood support centres
and other council locations. The second edition of the newsletter is attached here.
Remote banking services are being made available tomorrow to people North of River Derwent in
Workington. A Natwest mobile banking unit will be at Northside Community Centre and Seaton
Library. All services will be available to Nat West customers but they can also issue cash to non-
Natwest customers if they have a cheque/cash card and they will also be able to make cheque
payments for bills etc.