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District Dispatch - 10 October 2023

As we are all more than aware, our weather is becoming more unsettled across the whole of the year.

Councillor Jonathan Brown, Deputy Leader Chichester District Council and Cabinet Member for Environmental Strategy

We're also seeing more extreme weather events, which can increase the risk of flooding. This is why it is so important as we move towards the winter months that we are all prepared.

There are lots of things that we can do to make sure that we are weather ready over the months ahead. One of the things you can do is to sign up for flood warnings on the page (opens new window). These warn of the risk of flooding from rivers, the sea and groundwater and send alerts by phone, email, or text when flooding is expected. Please be aware that these alerts are not available in all areas.

If you live in an area that is at risk of flooding, it's worth making a personal flood plan for your household or business. The government has produced an action list, which explains the steps you need to take if there is flooding in your area on the personal flood plan guidance page (opens new window).

It's a good idea to make sure that you have basic supplies in case you need to leave home quickly, or your power and water are disrupted. It's worth putting together a 'grab bag' with bottled water, medicines, a torch, radio and batteries, plus copies of important documents, a change of clothes and contact details, such as the number of your insurance company.

Having insurance that protects your home or business is really important. If you have buildings and contents insurance, check if flood damage is included. If you are finding it difficult to get your property insured for flooding, the National Flood Forum may be able to help, you can visit the National Flood Forum website for more (opens new window). Please remember, if you rent your home, it's your responsibility to protect your belongings.

Many of us are reliant on the internet, but if a storm meant power and mobile phone networks were affected, what would you do? Consider purchasing a separate battery charger and store key information such as the power cut helpline (105) on your phone.

Cold weather can be a risk to your health, particularly if you are over 65 or have health conditions. Ideally, your home should be heated to at least 18°C. During cold spells, keep your windows closed at night as this can cause a real drop in temperature indoors. If you have a heating boiler, consider getting it serviced before the cold weather arrives if you can. If you are struggling financially, contact our Supporting You Team by emailing, or calling 01243 534 860 for help and advice and find out more on our Supporting You pages.

Checking your car is weather ready is really important. It's dangerous and illegal to drive in winter conditions with low levels of tread, so please check your vehicle's tyres. It's also worth topping up your screen wash additive to keep your windscreen free of winter road grime and getting a winter car kit ready in case you get stuck in bad weather.

Unfortunately, not everyone is able to access the help or information they may require to keep them safe and well in winter. It's nice to be neighbourly and popping round to say a quick hello can have positive effects for everyone. You may be able to help your neighbour with an important job to prepare for winter, or your neighbour may be able to help you. Just taking time to make contact will be appreciated.

Finally, I would also urge you to download our Chichester District Council app and switch the notifications on. This means we can let you know if there are changes to your bin collections in bad weather. It's also worth following the council's social media pages because in an emergency this is one of the key places we will provide updates.


Best Wishes

Cllr Jonathan Brown

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment Strategy at Chichester District Council