Pressure grows on B&NES to reverse gully-clearing cuts

Pressure is growing on Bath and North East Somerset Council to reverse cuts made to its drain and gully clearing budget in the wake of recent severe weather conditions.

Many parts of the area were badly affected by the torrential rain and heavy winds which hit the South West over the past week, leaving roads flooded and impassable.

Conservative councillors have said that lessons need to be learnt from the bad weather to see if any further action can be taken in future to mitigate against the impact of heavy rainfall, including looking again at the Council’s gully clearing operation.

As part of last year’s Council budget, the Liberal Democrat-run authority cut spending on drain and gully clearing by a quarter, leading to warnings at the time of an increased risk of flooding on some of the area’s roads.

Conservative councillors have tabled a question to the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport asking if cuts to drain and gully clearing would be reversed in next year’s budget plans.

Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Tim Warren, said:

“Obviously the Council has been dealing with particularly severe weather conditions in the past week and the Council has been doing the best it can to keep roads open and assist water drainage where possible.

“However, we have seen several bouts of unusually heavy rainfall this year and it’s important that lessons are learnt from these episodes to see if further preventative and remedial action can be taken in future.

“In particular, we do think the Council needs to look again at the cuts it has made to its drain and gully clearing budget.  Even if these cuts haven’t had a direct impact during this period of torrential rain, keeping drains and gullies clear of silt and debris is vital to keeping roads clear during normal heavy rain. We warned last year that gutting gully clearing was short sighted and will be pressing B&NES to reverse this cut.”