It’s acknowledged that with Southwell being prone to flash flooding, it’s essential that surfacewater during heavy rainfall is able to drain away as quickly and effectively as possible.
This means that the drainage system needs to be kept well maintained through a regular schedule of street cleaning and gully cleansing.
VIA is responsible for gully cleansing which is contracted to ACL who have a agreed schedule. Records are kept of the level of silt in the drains to determine if there are some which need more frequent cleaning.
Residents should report blocked gullies– (by phone or email) that is, when the pipe can be seen to be full of debris. VIA will respond with their own reactive gully cleansing vehicles. You may be interested in a short clip on keeping gullies clear in Hertfordshire.
If the grating is blocked with debris on the surface, this can be cleared easily by residents.
NSDC has a regular schedule for street cleaning which can help to keep the gullies clear by avoiding a build-up of debris which can get washed down into gullies. Gullies should never be used as ‘rubbish bin’ for building waste, cigarette ends etc. Conversely, it can be helpful if residents keep the length of road in front of their house clear of debris, particularly during the autumnal leaf-fall period.
Community action on keeping streets clean
Southwell Flood Forum and Southwell Town Council work with VIA and NSDC to target roads where cars are routinely parked and which are vulnerable to flooding but can’t be accessed properly because there are cars routinely parked. A specific date is arranged for a thorough street clean on those streets by arrange no-parking restrictions for that day.
The roads involved are
Church Street, Easthorpe, Westgate, Station Road
Statement from VIA
VIA aim to clear all roads in the County at least once in a two year cycle with some that are prioritised for annual cleanses and biennual cleanses.
Any gullies that are missed on a two year cycle are prioritised early in the following cycle.
About 33000 gullies are cleaned annually and about 650 are cleaned biannually. The roads prioritised for the annual and biannual cleanses are monitored and changes can be made to those at the end of each two year cycle.
With regard to recorded silt levels, where levels are at 50% or 75% it suggests that are cleansing frequency is correct. Gullies silted to those levels should still function perfectly normally provided that there are no problems, either with the carrier drains that they feed in to, or at the outfall of the system. When a gully is silted to 100% this would mean that the outlet in the gully is obstructed, so large numbers of gullies at that level can be problematic. If a road returns high percentages of gullies silted to 75% and 100% then that’s when VIA would look in more detail. It may be that a particular road is difficult to access with parked vehicles meaning that several get missed. In such circumstances pro-actively targeting the cleanse, in the manner that VIA do in Southwell, can ensure that gullies that have historically been missed are cleaned as per the schedule. If a road regularly has high silt levels recorded then that’s where VIA consider increasing the cleaning frequency of the road. In order to increase the frequency of a road then VIA need to remove a road that is currently prioritised as the annual and biannual cleanse roads are at capacity.