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Improving the speed and efficiency of responding to a flood

  • GIS is an essential tool for us when preparing emergency plans and when responding to an incident. Our flood maps, which are available both in the office and on laptop computers, paint very clear pictures of location, risk, facilities and so on, allowing effective briefings and response.

    Martin Rawling MEPS, Senior Emergency Management Officer

Cornwall Council combine geographic information from Ordnance Survey with Environment Agency® data and local information to meet statutory requirements for flooding.

As a Category 1 responder under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), Cornwall Council has a duty to plan for and respond to incidents quickly and effectively.

This means the Council has to thoroughly assess risks, put in place emergency plans, share information and cooperate with other responders, and make information available to the public.

In addition, as a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) under the recent Flood and Water Management Bill, Cornwall Council is required to produce ‘flood hazard maps’ and maintain a ‘register of structures or features that they consider to have a significant effect on flood risk in their area’.

The use of geographic information can help them meet all these needs, enabling the Council to:

  • Meet current and possible future statutory requirements.
  • Combine data in a way that facilitates the sharing of information.
  • Provide simple, clear and accurate contextual mapping for the public.
  • Improve the speed and efficiency in planning for responding to and recovering from flooding.

Cornwall Council has prepared ‘flood maps’ for vulnerable areas across the county by combining geographic information from Ordnance Survey and 1 000 year undefended tidal and fluvial flood information from the Environment Agency with locally sourced information to clearly display:

  • Flood zone boundaries and flood defences.
  • Important regional infrastructure such as evacuation briefing centres and assembly points, rest centres and potential helicopter landing sites.
  • Alternative routing around road closures, early and critical evacuation plans and traffic-control points.
  • Location of vulnerable people such as residential and care homes, schools and potential priority evacuation properties.
  • Key public service points (such as police stations, industrial parks, council offices, pharmacies and important regional infrastructure) and other sites (such as camping and caravanning sites that might have a significant effect on the plans depending on the time of year).

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