New Sandbagger for Taunton RRT
Sand Bagging is something the RRT have done on several occasions when it has flooded in Somerset. The Taunton Rapid Relief Team are now delighted to have this new piece of equipment, the cost of which has been heavily subsidised by the Somerset Rivers Authority.
Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow, with her interest in ‘The Future of Flood Protection’, has taken a great interest in the sandbagging machine and is very supportive of SEVAG (Somerset Emergency Voluntary Agencies Group). Rebecca is also a member of the select committee which has just released the recommendations of its inquiry into flood protection. Included in this are ideas about how to deal with floods in the future.
Following the flooding of the Somerset Levels and Moors in 2013/14, the Department of Communities and Local Government provided funding to the Somerset Rivers Authority. Part of the funding was to be allocated to those that support SEVAG to enhance their flooding response capabilities and resources. The funds could be used to provide equipment, training or other responses to enhance flooding responses. At a SEVAG meeting in 2014, those present were asked for suggestions as to what equipment would be beneficial in dealing with any future flood work.
The RRT requested an automatic sandbagging machine to enhance their capabilities in flooding emergencies, and we continue to look forward to helping local government bodies and communities in times of need.
Sand bagging is heavy back breaking work and this machine will greatly help all those who participate. It is extremely efficient and can produce 400-500 bags an hour – perfect for an emergency.
The RRT have done manual sandbagging at the Taunton council depot in November 2012 when it was the wettest week for 50 years, and again at Minehead in January 2014 when an exceptional high tide warning triggered a massive sanding operation and over 3500 bags were made; and then again at Moorland in the 2014 floods which devastated the village. This part of the UK is therefore no stranger to floods, and a sandbagging machine is a true asset.
While, for the sake of the community, the Rapid Relief Team hopes that there will be no severe floods in the area in the near future; they will be well prepared to face whatever comes!