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Tackling flooding head-on.

Byline: TONI GUILLOT toni.guillot@trinitymirror.com @ToniGuillot89

MEET the woman who has been appointed by the Environment Agency to help tackle flooding on Teesside.

A PS280,000-a-year project includes four new engagement officers spread out across the North-east, including one for Teesside - Sarah Pearce.

Funded by the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (NRFCC) for the next four years, the officers are working alongside partner organisations to help support communities.

They will help businesses and residents to understand their risk of flooding and ensuring those in floodrisk areas are signed up to receive free flood warnings.

They're also helping communities prepare themselves for flooding, such as supporting them to develop community flood plans and recruit volunteer flood wardens in at-risk communities.

Sarah is working on behalf of the Environment Agency and the Durham & Darlington Civil Contingencies Unit (CCU) to increase flood resilience in areas at risk of flooding. In Middlesbrough, 2,300 properties are considered to be at risk of surface water flooding.

Across Teesside, there are more than 6,000 properties at risk from fluvial flooding, however, sign-up to receive alerts and warnings in areas where the free Flood Warning Service is available is low - something Sarah hopes to change.

She said: "Previous work across Cleveland has led to Community Flood Warden groups being set up in communities such as Skinningrove, where a flood plan has been developed to support the community in responding to flood events.

"I want to help other areas set up new groups and community plans in response to flooding, as well as supporting existing groups. I'd also like to look at the potential to appoint Flood Champions in at risk communities."

Phil Taylor, from the Environment Agency's Flood Resilience Team in the North-east, added: "We've seen over the last few years alone just how devastating flooding can be for communities, so it's positive news that Northumbria RFCC has agreed to fund these dedicated officers to provide direct support to communities.

"In areas where the Environment Agency's free Flood Warning Service is available the officers will be working to increase sign up to the service.

"They'll also be helping develop community flood plans that will detail the action each community or business can take to reduce the impact of flooding, and help them return to normal life as soon as possible should a flood happen.

"And working with schools and youth groups means children can be educated about what it means to be flood resilient and ensure the messages delivered through the project have long-term impact in flood risk areas for years to come."

You can contact Sarah at sarah. pearce@environment-agency.gov.uk or 07867 441 697.

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Sarah Pearce is aiming to better prepare people whose homes are at risk of flooding

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 9, 2017
Words:461
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