“Go in, Stay in, Tune in” and have faith! Evacuation not an option, but development maybe!

The comments added to the previous post by Mr S. Sawkins warrant further examination.

He states:

“I am sure that there are other discrepancies entrenched in the officers comments detailing justification for development on the flood cell of Canvey Island. Why the planning officers chose to work outside the National Planning Policy Guidance is some thing for them to consider. To opt for the pragmatic approach and abandon the more cautious professional alternative will need explanation. Those of us who have lived on Canvey long enough to remember the abandoned colour coded emergency evacuation plan promulgated to all residents, will consider the now go-in stay-in and tune-in policy a very poor option. We would also question why access and egress provisions have disappeared from planning application. Clearly Canvey Island has been so over populated that it has become more onerous to consider the evacuation of its community compared to the consequences of a total LPG tank failure or a serious breach of our sea defence. These types of scenario are assessed in terms of likelihood and consequence, there is no allowance within a risk based approach assessment process for the lets hope that it will not happen mind-set. Societal risk has not been given sufficient weight in all of the councils dealings with Land Use Planning, something that the planning Inspector will not be able to ignore.”

Mr Sawkins, as will Castle Point Borough Council officers and Cabinet members, and as should other councillors, be aware of a publication by FLOODsite, an EU sponsored agency, titled “Evacuation and Traffic Management Report” dated 2008.

"How dare you!" Canute shouted. "Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!"  And in answer another wave swept forward and curled around the king's feet. The tide came in, just as it always did.  "Well, my friends," Canute said, "it seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe.

“How dare you!” Canute shouted. “Ocean, turn back now! I have ordered you to retreat before me, and now you must obey! Go back!”
And in answer another wave swept forward and curled around the king’s feet. The tide came in, just as it always did.
“Well, my friends,” Canute said, “it seems I do not have quite so much power as you would have me believe.

The contents of which appears to have sounded the death knell for any hope of an organised evacuation policy for Canvey Island, hence Castle Point Borough Council’s decision to resort to a “Go in, Stay in, tune in” policy.

The adequacy of a “Go in, Stay in, tune in” policy should be subjected to stringent examination by an independent emergency planning body.

The numbers of Canvey residents living in caravans or bungalows has grown. These residents will take priority in an emergency situation. This is further complicated by the ageing population, amongst whom will be residents with varying dis/abilities and health issues – it is believed the numbers and personal issues of these residents remain un-collated and un-registered.

The absence of a log of vulnerable residents and their location is a major emergency planning issue flaw.

The FLOODsite Evacuation and Traffic Management Report recognised that there are only two roads off of Canvey Island and that they merge at Waterside Roundabout. What is not allowed for in the report is the traffic light phasing at Sadlers Farm, likely to cause more serious delays to the published evacuation timings.

The Report refers specifically to the condition of the Canvey Island sea defences:

“It has been found that whilst substantial, these defences show signs of deterioration such as cracks in the concrete, and the degradation of seals between slabs. Metal access doors also represent a weak point with imperfect seals around them, bolts have to be manually placed to shut the gates and bolt holes are prone to get blocked with debris.”

In the event of   an emergency situation pre-warning will be dependent on, and limited by, a flood event resulting from a sudden breach of the defences. This situation would almost certainly not allow time for the Environment Agency to issue warning.

In the event that an evacuation was organised and under taken, the FLOODsite projected timings are:

Maximum time to evacuate Canvey assuming vehicles travel at 18.6 mph

Assuming 1,500 vehicle per hour exit capacity       19.7 hours

Assuming 3,000 vehicle per hour exit capacity       13.1 hours

Maximum time to evacuate Canvey assuming vehicles travel at 37.25 mph

Assuming 1,500 vehicle per hour exit capacity         9.5 hours

Assuming 3,000 vehicle per hour exit capacity         6.3 hours

Clearly it would be unusual to achieve the faster 37 mph example given above in any type of emergency scenario.

It would be fair to assume that residents safety is reliant on the ability of the sea defences to withstand any breach.

Castle Point Borough Council must also have total confidence in the sea defences for them to contemplate further housing development.

Only this total confidence can justify adding to the current population that will undoubtedly complicate and hinder any emergency relief required by any vulnerable current residents.

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One response to ““Go in, Stay in, Tune in” and have faith! Evacuation not an option, but development maybe!

  1. Thank you for this additional information. You are quite correct in inferring that those with the responsibility to do so should be familiar with the documentation that deals with Emergency Planning.

    Legislation by way of the Civil Contingencies Act clearly defines responsibilities particularly at Part 1 Local Authorities.

    I sincerely hope that all Councillors and Senior Officer when making decisions that could have a direct impact on the safety of the community they serve have a clear understanding of what that entails!

    Extract form the CC Act:-

    “Emergency planning should aim where possible to prevent emergencies occurring, and when they do occur, good planning should reduce, control or mitigate the effects of the emergency. It is a systematic and ongoing process which should evolve as lessons are learnt and circumstances change.
    Emergency planning should be viewed as part of a cycle of activities beginning with establishing a risk profile to help determine what should be the priorities for developing plans and ending with review and revision, which then re-starts the whole cycle. Plans should focus on at least 3 key groupings of people – the vulnerable, victims (including survivors, family and friends) and responder personnel.

    Vulnerable people may be less able to help themselves in an emergency than self-reliant people.

    Those who are vulnerable will vary depending on the nature of the emergency, but plans should consider: those with mobility difficulties (those with physical disabilities or pregnant women); those with mental health difficulties; and others who are dependent, such as children.

    Victims of an emergency – which includes not only those directly affected but also those who, as family and friends, suffer bereavement or the anxiety of not knowing what has happened.

    Responder personnel should also be considered. Plans sometimes place unrealistic expectations on management and personnel. Organisations should ensure their plans give due consideration to the welfare of their own personnel. For instance, the emergency services have health and safety procedures which determine shift patterns and check for levels of stress.”

    Civil Contingencies are not the sole responsibilities of Essex County Council.
    Indeed all local planning decisions should take the Emergency Planning aspect as a material consideration, failure to do so has consequences.

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