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Case Study - Gloucestershire

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The initial plan to collate and analyse data on flood damage to buildings and infrastructure in the City of Hull didn’t proceed as expected and even though the pre-project enquiries with Hull City Council were promising, during the project the economic conditions in England had deteriorated and the City Council was reluctant to make staff and data available, because of time and hence cost implications. Efforts then focussed on seeking similar data from the City of Gloucester. This lead to the creation of the Gloucester Case Study. Initially the Gloucester site showed great potential, but subsequently this also suffered the same problems as Hull City; economic cuts forced councils to limit activities of their staff, and hence staff support and data were finally not made available. It is for this reason that the Gloucester Pilot Site is listed as a Case Study – reporting the data and conditions found from the flooding in 2007, but lacking access to the detailed flood impact data. None the less the case study proved to be a valid source of information within FloodProBE.

2007 Floods in Gloucestershire

In the summer of 2007 Gloucestershire suffered one of the worst emergencies ever seen in the county due to extensive flooding. The summer of 2007 was one of the wettest on record. Heavy rainfall at the end of June led to flooding in some areas in Gloucestershire, both from surface water overloading the drainage systems and very high water levels in main rivers and brooks. But during July, rains were even heavier. On 20th July, two months’ rain fell in just 14 hours resulting in two emergencies–widespread flooding and tap water shortages affecting 350,000 people. It is estimated that the flooding and water crisis cost the county of Gloucestershire £50 million.

Other facts include:

  • 5,000 homes and businesses were flooded.
  • 80% of properties were affected were overwhelmed by flash flooding.
  • 48,000 homes were without electricity for two days.
  • 135,000 homes (over half the homes in Gloucestershire) were without drinking water for up to 17 days.
  • 825 homes were evacuated resulting in approximately 1,950 people (including 490 children) seeking temporary accommodation.
  • 500 businesses were affected.
  • 10,000 motorists were stranded on county roads, including the M5 where many people remained overnight.
  • 500 commuters were stranded at Gloucester train station.
  • Flood water reached 7 feet in some vulnerable areas.
  • Over 2,500 people were accommodated in local authority rest centres, many of them commuters from the motorway and rail network.
  • 40 million bottles of drinking water were distributed.
  • 1,400 bowsers were deployed.
  • The estimated cost to repair the county's roads was £25 million.


Flooding at the confluence of the rivers Severn and Avon
Flooding at the confluence of the rivers Severn and Avon (source, Global Dimension Trust)
Tewkesbury under water
Tewkesbury under water (source Global Dimension Trust)

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