‘Only travel if essential’ warning as Suffolk Resilience Forum declares flooding major incident

Heavy rain has caused severe flooding in parts of Suffolk

People in Suffolk are being asked not to travel unless absolutely essential - as the heavy rain caused by Storm Babet has led to a major incident being declared in Suffolk. 
Jon Lacey, Suffolk’s Chief Fire Officer, said:

“The continuous heavy rainfall across Suffolk is causing severe flooding in several locations, but is also making driving conditions more dangerous for everyone. 

“We are therefore asking people to travel only where it is absolutely essential – for example collecting a child from school, accessing medical treatment or returning home from work. Reducing non-essential travel means more people stay safe and pressure on the emergency services is reduced.

“Although the Suffolk Resilience Forum will continue to do all it can to help protect our county, everyone needs to take precautions to ensure they do not put themselves in danger.”

“We are responding whilst monitoring the situation closely and while the rain is forecast to ease over the weekend, we must all take action to ensure lives are protected.”

If people do need to travel on roads, motorists are advised to drive with caution due to the heavy rain and keep alert for surface water, drive according to the conditions, keep headlights on and increase distance from the vehicle in front and be prepared to back off if visibility gets worse.

Partners in the Suffolk Resilience Forum, including councils, health bodies and emergency services, have taken the decision following the increasing number of flooded roads, impact on schools, health and care provision and the emergency services. 

It means public organisations will work even closer than usual to tackle the challenges presented by the bad weather, including joint decision making, information-sharing and on the ground support for Suffolk residents. 
Reports from each of Suffolk Resilience Forum agency were considered before it was decided that the current situation meets the agreed threshold for a major incident, including special arrangements now being implemented by one or more emergency responder agencies. 
A major incident is called when the situation is believed to be beyond ‘business-as-usual’ operations and when there is the heightened risk of serious harm, damage, disruption or threat to human life or welfare. 

Suffolk Resilience Forum has declared a major incident after flooding