RESIDENTS need to help themselves when it comes to protecting their homes from flooding.
That is the message from Cotswold District Council.
Its cabinet member for the environment, Councillor David Fowles, said: "Nobody is pretending that the threat of flooding will ever go away, even when all our priority flood defences are completed in the district. The more that residents can do to help themselves, with the assistance of the council and other agencies when required, the better they will be able to withstand a problem of this nature."
He said he was aware that some residents had queried the supply of sandbags and clarified the situation from the council's position.
"We support the Environment Agency stance that property owners within flood risk areas should make their own preparations in advance. In other words, we will not supply sandbags to protect individual properties, but we will continue to retain small stocks for strategic deployment at our discretion in the event of flooding emergencies. This stock of sandbags was used recently to help contain the River Churn in Cirencester.
"The fact is that sandbags offer very little real protection in a severe flood and there are significant logistical problems involved in distributing them across such a large and rural district covering 450 square miles, particularly when the area is flooding.
"This was demonstrated during the 2007 floods when some towns and villages became cut off and it was not possible for our officers to deliver sandbags safely. Consequently, Gloucestershire County Council offered free sandbags to communities to store in the event of an emergency – records show that half a dozen town and parish councils in the district took up this offer while a further five were given flood resilience funding to purchase their own."