Councillors demand better emergency responses after Fenland Hall call met with recorded message before “phone went dead”

11:56 11 August 2014

Grosvenor Road, Wisbech, flooding

Grosvenor Road, Wisbech, flooding

Archant

Husband and wife Wisbech councillors Michael and Virginia Bucknor believe “lessons still need to be learned” about releasing information during an emergency.

Grosvenor Road, Wisbech, floodingGrosvenor Road, Wisbech, flooding

The couple have today written to the leader of Fenland Council calling for all councillors to be kept better informed when flooding, or other emergencies, occur.

“As you know we have started a Wisbech Volunteer Flood Warden group and have around 10 volunteers,” they told Councillor John Clark.

“We spent the last few weeks leafleting people’s homes around Waterlees about getting signed up for the automatic alerts from the Environment Agency as the EA were concerned there were less than 300 people in Wisbech who were on their alert system.

“Last Wednesday we spent the day at the Wisbech Adventure Playground where we got a further 80 signed up and a further 12 at the Community House event on the Thursday. So we’re quite aware of what’s needed and how important good communication channels should be during an emergency.”

Grosvenor Road, Wisbech, floodingGrosvenor Road, Wisbech, flooding

But two days later, when flooding hit the Fens and parts of Wisbech, the system creaked at its first attempt.

“Last Friday one of our volunteer flood wardens in Grosvenor Road telephoned Fenland Council and the emergency services because of the flood problems in that street,” they said.

Three days later “this street has had no support at all as far as residents who’ve provided these photographs and we are aware.”

Councillor Mrs Bucknor said that when she phoned Fenland Hall on Saturday she was met with a recorded call about council tax but told to “stay on the line if it’s an emergency. The phone then went dead.”

She said they had previously worked with David Vincent, the council’s emergency planning manager, but “unfortunately he was away on holiday and his email contact was the head of ICT as the alternate. But there was no phone number.”

Cllr Bucknor said she finally made contact with chief executive Paul Medd “who telephoned me and provided some FDC contact numbers”.

But she said that “lessons still need to be learned. The reluctance of officers to inform councillors but to just ‘get on with the job’ seems to be at the heart of this communication problem.

“At the very minimum an email could go out to all councillors when an emergency arises, advising who the contact point is at FDC for the particular emergency situation should it be required.”

Fenland Council is preparing a response which we hope to have available later in the day.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Wisbech Standard visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Wisbech Standard staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Wisbech Standard account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Alan Pain

A councillor’s bid to get Fenland Council to switch from a cabinet style system of governance to committees fell at the first hurdle.

11:31
Erbie Murat. Picture: Steve Williams.

Former Wisbech Town Council clerk Erbie Murat has got a new job.

10:00
Britney, the rebel leader of the Bohemians (Oliver Short). Picture: Tim Chapman.

Performers at Wisbech Grammar School paid tribute to iconic rock band Queen with a three night run of We Will Rock You.

Yesterday, 16:54
Juris Valujevs

Two men who “ruled by fear” to exploit migrant workers in Fenland have been sentenced.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

E-edition