Matters arising from previous meeting
Actions arising from previous minutes:
- DB confirmed that she had setup a bank account for the group with the Cumberland Building Society.
- Declarations of interest had been forwarded to DB
DB has setup a club account with the Cumberland Building Society. DB, SG and JK are signatories on the account. Account name: Carlisle Flood Action Group.
DB has also setup a Paypal account which is now linked to Cumberland Account. A donation button has been added to website.
Incomings this month of 0.01 (Paypal verification code) and balance sits at 0.01.
Committee Appointments & Vacancies
The following posts remain unfilled:
- Media/PR Officer
- Stakeholder Liaison Officer
Chair update & EA Flood Investigation Report response
SG welcomed Mike, Richard, Kerryanne and Julie to the committee. It has been a busy month for the Flood Action Group.
SG, JK and LE attended the Cumbria Floods Partnership meeting on 20th April in Carlisle. SG presented the groups Outline Proposal of a Cumbria Rivers Authority to the members which was well received.
SG has also attended a meeting with Steve Moore - EA North West Director of Operations. SG continues to believe that the EA are unable to take the lead strategically. They are operationally lead and have neither the funding or managerial structure to implement an effective long term solution.
SG feels we should turn our attention to Cumbria County Council who have been assigned lead role in flood defense but do not have a partner on board to deliver it. Their focus is therefore on the EA to deliver for them.
The flood investigation report was released prior to flood forms w/c 8th May. SG, JK & SW attended the Fusehill Street forum on behalf of the flood group. There was a lot of anger at the meeting. Many attendees questioned key points of the investigation report and it was felt that not a lot of answers were provided. Schoolboy errors, no terms of reference and factually incorrect assumptions in the report. The EA were keen to point out that they had commissioned a professional consultancy in writing the report but could not give an answer when questioned if CH2M had visited Carlisle.
Real fear that the review in summer led by Oliver Letwin, Liz Truss and Rory Stewart will assign funding and agree implementation based on a combination of Defra Led review, Flood Investigation report and recommendations from Cumbria Floods Partnership.
MF pointed out that lack of data gives us no time to feed into this review. The authorities seem to be sleep walking to disaster! There was a feeling that delivery of the reports had been slowed down on purpose to achieve this objective.
Proposal to convert to a Limited Company by Guarantee
DB suggested a move to incorporated status, Company Limited by Guarantee with possible charitable status. Whilst this was deemed to be a positive move it was felt that the group should look at representing a greater area than Carlisle & District. Members talked about the merits of becoming the Cumbria Flood Action group but it was felt that we might upset other groups with this name. It was decided that this proposal should be left in abeyance for the moment to be resurrected at an appropriate moment.
Eden Flood Volunteers
Big thanks to Kerryanne Wilde for attending and giving the team a better overview of the work of Eden Flood Volunteers. In summary:
- Set up in December 2015 after Storm Desmond Flood
- Working out of Scaresgill Depot Penrith (they are in talks with CCC to obtain occupancy until April 2017 on a peppercorn rent basis)
- £100K awarded by Cumbria Community Foundation until April 2017
- Provides furniture, clothing, cleaning supplies, food, baby supplies etc... based on a very simple formula
- Uphill struggle to get authorities to take them seriously
- Would like to help more in Carlisle so is keen to establish a link with Carlisle Flood Action Group
- Would like to tackle Flood Re scheme – deemed to be unfair
- Damning statistics 54% uninsured, 15% exclusion or voided policies
Addendum: DB proposed that Kerryanne be offered the role of Social & Welfare Officer – this was seconded by JK by email dated 17/05/2016.
Also, thanks to Julie Simpson for outlining proposition for Carlisle Flood Museum/Centre. Outline Proposal:
- Based in soon to be empty buildings near Tullie House
- Ground floor would be an educational centre displaying evidence of flood events on the city and its outlying districts
- Drop in centre which could provide counselling services, friendly ear, advice
- Base for Carlisle Flood Action Group and Eden Flood Volunteers
Still in early phase, Julie is speaking to Architects and will make contact with Tullie House to see if they would be interested in partnering.
Any Other Business
RM contacted EA and CCC regarding Timeline of flood investigation report. A follow up response to recommended actions was also sent on 8th May. Copies available on request. RM expressed severe concern over continued El Nino effects and the lack of warning by the EA regarding this phenomena. The World Meteorological organization published a warning re: strengthening El Nino effect in the second half of 2015. Why did this not send alarm bells ringing in the EA and why were we not preparing for such an event?
The meeting was adjourned at 7:30pm. The next meeting tbc.