Storm Arwen review includes 'be better prepared' recommendation

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A comprehensive Northumberland County Council review into the aftermath of Storm Arwen has recommended that all agencies should be better prepared for future emergencies.

When the severe weather hit the county in November last year, thousands of homes in the county were left without electricity and water services – many for several days.

It prompted the local authority to launch a review to establish what lessons could be learned by all organisations involved.

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A series of recommendations has been agreed by the council calling on all agencies to work more closely together, update their emergency plans, share information and ensure residents can be made more aware of what help is available.

Storm Arwen damage in Bamburgh.Storm Arwen damage in Bamburgh.
Storm Arwen damage in Bamburgh.

The review received around 90 external submissions – from residents, town and parish councils, the voluntary sector, councillors and MPs.

Coun Jeff Reid, who chaired the review, said: “I am really pleased that the review has been so well received.

“We all worked together to get to the nub of the issues and to come up with positive recommendations. It has been a great example of cross-party working for the benefit of the residents of Northumberland.”

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Council leader Glen Sanderson: “Firstly, I want to thank all the residents and communities in Northumberland who showed tremendous resilience in the face of the challenges and hardships caused by the storm.

“The review hasn’t been about apportioning blame – it's been about learning from what worked, what didn’t and putting in measures so every agency is better prepared should this happen again.

“I would like to thank Coun Reid and all the members of the review group for the effort they put in, to understanding the problems and coming forward with realistic proposals.

“I’d also stress that during the evidence gathering sessions, there was much appreciation expressed for the emergency response – not just from Northumberland County Council staff and our Fire and Rescue Service, but also the crews from the utility companies, the hundreds of volunteers and other organisations and, of course, the military who all went above and beyond in very difficult conditions.”