Posted & filed under Community Resilience, Emergency Planning, Media Interviews.

Southwell’s road closure scheme is possibly one of the most complex in Europe with 19 road closure points

Click on the links for the revised (since the Southwell Community Resilience Handbook 2016) SFF CR Magazine – road closure map September 2019 and huddles

Trained Road Closure Wardens have legal delegated powers from Nottinghamshire County Council Highways Department to close roads at pre-determined locations when pre-determined triggers are met.

This will effectively prevent loss of life and protect property in all flood risk areas in Southwell.

Road Closure signage is stored at strategic, accessible locations near the road closure points. This signage should not be removed or moved without prior permission of the Southwell Flood Forum Community Emergency Planning Team and should only be deployed by trained Road Closure Wardens.

Training for Road Closure Wardens

Sessions are usually held in October at Southwell Fire Station

Nottinghamshire County Council Flood Team also run training for all communities who have a road closure signage system.

Recruitment areas for Road Closure Wardens

Recruitment areas for Trigger Point Spotters

Recruitment material – Recruitment flier – September 2018 and Recruitment Letter – September 2018

Safety Guidelines

No-one should place themselves at risk.

Be aware of:

  • the dangers of walking through floodwater – unseen underwater hazards (open manholes for example) and the possibility of being destabilised in moving water
  • driving through floodwater – damage to car, unseen underwater hazards
  • the damage that can be caused to property and people from bow-waves of traffic driving through floodwater

‘Dry Run’ 17th May 2015

Residents and passing traffic may have been startled to see people in hi-viz jerkins wielding ‘Flood’ and ‘Road Closed’ signs around Southwell on a dry, sunny Sunday. However, there was no cause for panic. This was a ‘dry run’ of the Road Closure Scheme. The next day’s heavy rain was a poignant reminder of the reason for the exercise and that we are approaching our flood risk season, based on historical evidence of 2007 and 2013.

2015-05-17 12.04.08 2 2015-05-17 12.04.14

Rob Fisher being interviewed by ITV news         A ‘flock’ of Flood Road Closure Wardens

Over 30 trained Road Closure Wardens met up in their allocated ‘huddles’ – groups of Wardens who are responsible for between 2 and 4 of the town’s 20 road closure points in their vicinity. They collected the signage from their local storage area, set them up at predetermined road closure points and were assessed on their understanding of the trigger, action and risks involved when they close the roads in the event of a flood.

The exercise demonstrated that we still need more volunteers, particularly from residents who live near a closure point. You may have been affected by flooding and be motivated to help reduce the additional impact of cars driving through floodwater creating bow-waves. Most of the closure points are in areas where residents weren’t in all probability flooded themselves and your support will be greatly appreciated by those at risk.

Whatever your situation, we would be glad to hear from you. It became even more evident during the Dry Run exercise that time will be of the essence in an emergency and the more trained Wardens who live in close proximity to the closure points, the more likely there will be sufficient people to respond at any given time.

You would need to attend one or two training sessions, plus an annual refresher meeting. You will be part of a ‘huddle’ who support each other and local residents before, during and after a flooding incident.

Representatives from Southwell Flood Forum’s Community Emergency Planning Team, headed by James Parker, have worked closely with Rob Fisher Group Manager for Emergency Planning and Registration at Nottinghamshire County Council and Mick Greenaway of NCC Highways Dept who have been very supportive and helpful in designing the scheme and trained the growing team of Wardens over the past 19 months. Newark and Sherwood District Council have supported this Community Resilience project and helped with funding for toolkits. Southwell Town Council are co-operating on the Community Emergency Plan and some Councillors have also trained as Wardens.

The Dry Run was a very useful exercise to ‘iron out the wrinkles’ of the scheme, which was carefully planned in the confines of Forum members’ homes and Southwell Fire Station and ‘signed off’ by Nottinghamshire County Council. This final stage made it all feel more ‘real’ when we were actually working in situ and understanding the logistics of the scheme.


Getting acquainted with the signage, handling and positioning it correctly.

Over the next few weeks we will be making some alterations and adjustments. In due course, we will be running a further training session for new Wardens and those who haven’t been able to attend both of the necessary theory and practical modules.

To see the road closure locations and find out more – visit

Evening Post – February 1st 2014 – Emergency team is at the ready in case floods return to Nottinghamshire

Newark Advertiser – June 12th 2014  – Southwell floods: Emergency road closure system would be largest in Europe

Newark Advertiser article – May 21st 2016advertiser article

ITV news