[O]ver twelve thousand drains and gullies will be cleared between now and January as part of a council blitz on blocked drains.
The special one-off programme is in addition to the county council’s usual standard annual gully clearing programme and is intended to ensure Cumbria’s streets are able to drain as quickly as possible in the event of heavy rain. The programme is starting now that autumn is ending and most trees have by now dropped their leaves.
The gully cleaning programme has been broken into three areas – East (3663 gullies), West (3073 gullies) and South (5649 gullies) – and should be completed by mid-January if all works go to schedule. The council has worked with local Flood Action Groups to identify where blocked gullies have previously caused problems. A full list of areas being targeted, with anticipated start dates, has been published on www.cumbria.gov.uk/eLibrary/view.asp?ID=89417 . The council is asking people to assist crew by ensuring vehicles are not blocking access to gullies on the days they are in their area.
If members of the public are aware of blocked gullies requiring urgent action now they can still contact the council’s Highways Hotline via http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/highwayshotline.
Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Blocked gullies prevent water draining away quickly, making our roads more dangerous. So after the volume of rain last winter we’re keen to make sure that the county’s roads are as well prepared as possible. That’s why we have deliberately invested additional resources in this ‘gully blitz’ to make sure the county’s highways network is ready when the weather takes a turn for the worse. A total of 12,392 gullies will be cleaned in roughly six weeks, which is quite remarkable.”