Storm Arwen review in Northumberland gets underway

A council-led review looking into the aftermath of Storm Arwen, which left thousands of Northumberland residents without power for nearly two weeks, has started.

By Andrew Coulson
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 4:28 pm
Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council.
Glen Sanderson, leader of Northumberland County Council.

And the leader of the local authority has stressed the most important part of this evaluation is giving those affected “who have suffered so much” the chance to “place their questions and make their statements”.

The bout of severe weather in late November left about 100,000 homes across the UK without heating, electricity or water and the army had to be drafted into the county in the days that followed, such was the concern for vulnerable households.

Northern Powergrid was among the organisations which faced the most criticism for its role in the aftermath of Storm Arwen. The power provider was particularly criticised for its poor communication.

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A motion to Northumberland County Council on Storm Arwen was also approved, calling for all organisations involved in the response to “ensure lessons are learnt”.

Announcing the review, which is being organised by the council’s scrutiny committee, council leader Glen Sanderson said: “I want to again pay tribute to all those who worked so hard to help all those in need – from our own staff and members through to all the organisations and especially our communities themselves – that was wonderful to see.

“But we must ensure residents are not let down as they were this time. The most important part for me is to ensure that local people, local residents who have suffered so much, can place their questions and make their statements.

“We have got to make sure that investment takes place following this, whether that’s providing infrastructure for communities to run their own generators or whether it’s just to make sure that the infrastructure that’s there is fully fit for purpose.”

The review is expected to publish its findings in the coming months.

Any comments can be emailed to [email protected] or by post to Mr Sean Nicholson, Scrutiny Co-ordinator, Democratic Services, County Hall, Morpeth NE61 2EF.

Queries regarding compensation due to loss of power during the storm should be directed to Northern Powergrid at www.northernpowergrid.com/storm-arwen