Agency peps up its flood alert system

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The Environment Agency has made further improvements to its flood warning service across West, South and North Yorkshire.

The team is targeting more specific geographical areas with its flood warning service so smaller communities in these areas will receive more relevant flood alerts.

The new system is updating flood alerts for rivers including the River Aire and River Calder in West Yorkshire.

Staff hope that it will help residents to take the right action at the right time.

Graham Lindsey from the agency’s flood resilience team in Leeds said: “We have had feedback from some of our customers who live near to the smaller rivers and becks, that sometimes a flood alert is issued and yet their beck is still very low.

“These changes look to address this issue so that our customers only receive alerts which are more relevant to them.”

Under the old system, high river levels would have prompted the Environment Agency to issue a flood alert for the central area of a catchment like the River Aire, including communities from Stockbridge near Keighley, to Castleford.

“The recent flooding in Calderdale highlights how important it is for people to be aware of their risk of flooding, and to sign up to our flood warning service if appropriate.

“We currently have around nine thousand people in South and West Yorkshire registered to receive our flood alerts, and many more who have registered to receive flood warnings which are sent when we expect properties to flood.

“However, there are a number of areas where the take-up of our flood warning service is still quite poor including Shipley, central Leeds, Snaith, and Chapeltown and Ecclesfield in Sheffield.

We would urge people to find out if they are eligible to receive this free service by calling Floodline 0845 988 1188, or by visiting our website.”

People can also receive the Environment Agency’s free flood warnings relevant to their area through Facebook.

People already registered with the flood warning service don’t need to do anything as a result of the changes.

In 2010, following recommendations in the Government’s report into the 2007 floods, the Environment Agency made a number of developments to its service, including the introduction of new flood symbols and warning messages.

People can now find a wide range of flood information on the Environment Agency’s website including current river levels.

To find out more and to discover whether you are eligible to receive Floodline Warnings Direct, log on to the Environment Agency’s website www.environment-agency.gov.uk or call the 24-hour Floodline service on 0845 988 1188 for more information about flooding.