Flooding in the South Gloucestershire village of Aust could be a thing of the past, thanks to campaigning local councillors.
A £30,000 scheme to enlarge a local council-managed culvert – named Cake Pill Gout – has recently been completed by South Gloucestershire Council after permission was received from the Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board (LSIDP) – the authority responsible for drainage into the Severn Estuary.
Aust’s community leaders have also been recently notified that their Sustainable Communities Act proposal for further flood prevention in the area will now be referred to the Secretary of State for final consideration.
Submitted in the summer by Aust Parish Council, the proposal calls for a study to be carried out to identify for certain the cause of flooding, which the community suspect is the result of silt building up in a containment pond to the north of the village, which is owned by the Government’s Highways Agency.
This pond takes and stores the run-off from the M48 motorway before it then flows into the village rhine.
To date however, the agency has declined to accept any responsibility for the flooding at meetings organised by Conservative councillor for the Severn ward, Matthew Riddle.
Commenting on the enlarged Cake Pill Gout culvert, Cllr Riddle, said:
“A number of households have had to put up with the absolute misery of their properties flooding during periods of heavy and prolonged rainfall and so I have very much taken up their cases with the relevant authorities.
One of the issues I raised on behalf of residents was what looked to be the restricted size of the local Cake Pill Gout culvert at Aust Wharf, which is the council’s responsibility.
Following a number of productive on-site meetings with the council’s drainage officers, it appeared as if the narrow nature of the culvert was restricting rhine flow from both the village and the M48 motorway into the Severn Estuary and so a £30,000 enlargement scheme was approved and has recently been completed.”
“Importantly, this council-funded prevention scheme should not be viewed in isolation from additional flood prevention measures that are in the gift of the confusing array of other public bodies that share responsibility for flooding.
Aust Parish Council’s positive use of the Sustainable Communities Act is about getting the Government’s Highways Agency to finally take responsibility for the flooding that seems to be caused by the containment pond that they own, but do not appear to be maintaining properly.
If the silt build up is not removed by the Highways Agency then the pond cannot function as it was designed to, thus turning it into a useless and expensive task in building the pond in the first place.
We have had a number of discussions with the Highways Agency in order to press them on this issue, but to no avail.
We need to get the same pro-activeness from the Government that we have had from the council because local people’s patience is close to being exhausted.
Furthermore, we have been advised that the LSIDB is to upgrade three upstream field culvert crossings of the village rhine which should further safeguard the village against this increasing flood threat.”
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council