A car damaged by a fallen tree during Storm Arwen

Council reflects on Storm Arwen anniversary

A year after Northumberland was badly damaged by Storm Arwen, the leader of the council has reflected on lessons learned over the past 12 months. 
When the severe weather hit the county on November 26 last year, thousands of homes were left without electricity and water services – many for several days. 
It led to a comprehensive council review which recommended that all agencies should be better prepared for future emergencies. 
Among the key findings was a call for agencies to work more closely together, update their emergency plans, share information and ensure residents can be made more aware of what help is available. 
Staff from Northumberland Communities Together and the council’s Civil Contingencies Team have been working together closely on the development of the Community Resilience Project, focusing firstly on a network of Community Response Hubs across the county. 
Closer working with utility companies has been progressed, while council teams have also been out visiting the many town and parish councils which cover the county to ensure a more joined up approach, particularly in times of emergency. 
Council Leader Glen Sanderson said: “A year on I’d like to once again thank all the residents, communities and workers who showed tremendous resilience in the face of the challenges and hardships caused by the storm. 
“For some, the events of last November are still very raw and in many areas of the county there are clearly visible scars on the landscape where swathes of trees were torn down.” 
We’ve always been clear our review wasn’t about apportioning blame – it's been about learning from what worked, what didn’t and putting in measures so every agency is better prepared should this happen again. 
“And while a great deal has been achieved, particularly within this council to better prepare us for the next time, I do hope all the other key agencies are stepping up to the plate with their planning and preparation. 
“I was left last year, as I know many residents were, feeling very upset and frustrated about some of the shortcomings, Now we’re heading into winter once again and none of us know what challenges lie ahead, but I would expect that after a year in which to improve systems and processes, all agencies are in a much better place to respond.” 
View all news