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Severe weather warning: midnight 23 Dec – 6am 24th Dec

The Met Office have issued an Amber Warning of Windvalid from 00:05 on Tue, 24th Dec 2013 until 06:00 on Tue, 24th Dec 2013.

“Southwesterly gales and locally severe gales will continue across southern and eastern parts of England during Monday night, but are expected to strengthen further across parts of southeast England, including SUFFOLK, in the Amber warning area, during the early hours of Tuesday, with gusts of 65-75 mph inland and 75-85 mph along exposed eastern coasts. The winds will ease from the west by morning.”
Note – Friday 27th sees return of gales and rain.

Heavy rain is anticipated although it is considered that this will only have the potential for localised surface water flooding with up to 20-25mm of rain across the county.  There may be other incidents of flooding in areas susceptible to flooding from fast reacting rivers – Rattlesden, Stowmarket  and possibly to Needham Market.

Widespread messages are being circulated to the public through the media – that “ the Public should be prepared for disruption, particularly to travel and for interruptions to power supplies.”

TRAVEL

Road:  The Highways Agency has closed the QEII Bridge at Dartford until further notice with traffic being diverted through the tunnels.  It is anticipated that the Orwell Bridge will be closed later this evening- based upon the wind limits, but hopefully after this evening’s homeward commute to ease congestion problems in Ipswich.

Suffolk Highways are activating their Highways Hub overnight to deal with expected road disruption.  However, crews will not carry out chainsaw clearances during darkness hours, but will make situations safe and put diversions in place.  Additional crews will commence shifts earlier tomorrow morning.

Rail: Anglia Rail tell us  50 mph speed restriction will be imposed across the Route network from 6pm this evening until first thing tomorrow morning. As a consequence there will be some cancellations and alterations to services.

Services in Anglia are not expected to resume until after 10am tomorrow morning, to be in position to clear the debris, etc. and also allow for “route proving trains” to check the lines before re-opened to services. If possible they will restore services before 10am but the advice to the public is not to look to travel tomorrow until after 1000 hrs.

POWER OUTAGES

It is anticipated that there will be power outages, especially along the coast.  UK Power Networks have initiated their emergency procedures.

GENERAL

Warnings are being sent regarding open areas, public spaces and parks and Right of Way regarding the hazards.

There may be loss of power affecting care homes and vulnerable people

Probable closure of Port of Felixstowe,  and increased congestion if Orwell Bridge closed.

Caroline Page

LibDem Spokesperson for Transport

Warning: Suffolk Coastal tidal surge tonight

Looks like the Suffolk Coast may be in for a hammering battering tonight, with the Environment Agency strongest tidal surge in 60 years predicted. Already there are Severe Flood Warnings right along the Suffolk Coast, from  Felixstowe to Lowestoft .

However a Major Incident has been announced – so keep aware.

  • The Environment Agency Warnings link identifes trouble spots. It  is  updated every time there is a change to predicted circumstances.
  • When flooding is likely, the Environment Agency issues flood alerts and warnings through the media –  broadcast on TV and local radio. You can register with the Environment Agency to receive free floods warnings by phone, text or e-mail. You can also  get advice and information via Floodline on 0845 9881188.
  • Suffolk Police Emergency Helpline: 0845 603 2814
  • If there is any risk of danger to people, property or the environment as a result of flooding you should not hesitate to ring 999.
  • Further general information can be found on the Suffolk County Council flood risk  webpage

Keep an eye on warnings and keep safe!

Answers to LibDem questions: Full Council, 19 September

Questions we asked this month concerned Homecare packages, closure of Lowestoft’s  EAOTAs centre and the  disparity between amount of expenses Suffolk county councillors can claim for different forms of transport.

Below in full are the questions as tabled by your Suffolk Lib Dem Councillors at September’s Full Council on the 19th, together with a summary of  the appropriate  Cabinet member’s reply (plus supplementary question and response where appropriate).

Inga Lockington  to Cabinet member for Adult Care & Health  Allan Murray

Question: How many residents assessed as needing care support and living alone in Suffolk receive Homecare visits of no longer than 15min within their care package?

Answer:  We only commission packages that meet the needs of the patients and the basic package is for never less than 30 minutes.  However an extra package may be added in certain circumstances. This may be a 15 minute package

Penny Otton to Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Young People Lisa Chambers

Question: Following the interview I did with Sally Chidzoy on BBC LOOK EAST in July I am pleased  to discover that the EAOTAS centre in Lowestoft has NOW closed . Why did this take so long??

Answer; EOTAS is run by external contractors – despite SCC working closely with the last company we were unable to come to an agreement, so they were given notice.  The scheduled closure is Oct 25th.

Supplementary question: How are you supporting the children?

Answer: We are working closely with the parents to ensure a smooth transition.

Caroline Page to Mark Bee, Leader of the Council

Question: Cllr Bee, as you have made it a council commitment that Suffolk should be ” the greenest county” and that we should  ”strive to improve the health, life chance and life expectancy of our residents”,  will you now commit to a reduction of the extremely generous mileage allowance Suffolk County councillors get if they use their own cars for transport on county council business – and instead to incentivise county councillors  to set a good example  to the residents of Suffolk by travelling by public transport or bicycle?

Answer:    Council are committed to encouraging healthier / cheaper forms of transport.  Allowances and expenses are being reviewed by the remuneration review panel. Cllr Bee  says he will put these concerns to the panel

(you can read Caroline Page’s blog about her question here)