Praise for South Tyneside response to Storm Arwen after more than 100 homes left without power
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A report presented to South Tyneside Council (STC) this week took a closer look at the severe weather event and its impact across the borough.
This included fallen trees, loss of power and damage to buildings, with some people being moved into alternative accommodation.
And while the cost of last year’s storm is still being counted, borough bosses have praised the local authority’s “excellent response” to the crisis.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of STC, led tributes to council staff at Thursday’s (January 13) full council meeting.
“Members will recall the impact Storm Arwen had on the borough when it hit overnight on November 26 last year,” she said.
“Properties and vehicles were damaged, trees uprooted and a number of our residents and businesses were left without power.
“Council will note the exceptionally high number of reports that were required in the response and thanks to some pre-planning, key services were able to mobilise immediately, prioritising responses on a risk-based priority approach.
“This ensured, as far as possible, that our key infrastructure was largely able to remain open, risks from fallen or damaged trees were actioned and necessary closures as a result of dangerous or seriously damaged structures were implemented.”
Almost 1,000 calls were made to the council’s out of hours service in the days after Storm Arwen battered the borough.
There were also more than 400 reports of individual sites with damage to trees and more than 100 properties left without power.
The council’s building control team visited about 70 sites to assess safety concerns, as well as assisting with road and footpath closures.
Elsewhere, South Tyneside Homes fielded around 4,000 additional reports of required property repairs to council housing stock.
Council officers, supported by South Tyneside Homes, also undertook welfare checks and, where necessary, helped find alternative accommodation.
Cllr Dixon added that power outages for affected residents were limited to just “a number of days.”
She added: “I would like to reassure council that officers have already met to review the response, understand what went well and develop any key areas that we could improve.
“I’m sure council would like to join me in thanking our partners, contractors and all council officers, who provided an excellent response to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents in such difficult times.
“I would also like to say a personal thanks to our elected members who over that weekend were out supporting our residents and our businesses.”
Cllr Glenn Thompson, leader of the South Tyneside Independents Group, thanked council teams, contractors and partners for the “impressive response to the storm.”
Green Party councillor Peter Bristow asked for reassurance that the council would be ready to deal with future extreme weather events, suggesting bosses consider boosting strategic reserves to ensure it is “financially prepared to continue to respond effectively.”
Cllr Dixon responded: “We’re a caring council and we will do whatever we can to support our residents and businesses in times of need, such as the recent events in November.”