TWO groups have been set up to find ways to deal with flooding in the Rochford district.

After last summer’s floods, Rochford Council has set up an advisory group, involving district and county councils, the Environment Agency, Anglian Water and the fire authority.

The aim is to find cost-effective and innovative ways of preventing future surface-water flooding.

Campaigners in Rawreth have set up a parallel group to raise that area’s problems with the authorities and represent villagers affected by flooding.

Heavy rain led to serious flooding in the district and elsewhere in south Essex last August, even making several families homeless.

Rochford Council leader Terry Cutmore, chairman of the new district-wide group, said: “We hope this will kick-start some real action relating to flood prevention.

“The flooding last summer was exceptional, and the district has fared quite well since, compared to the devastation in other areas, but we are keen to do what we can to help prevent future flooding.”

Mr Cutmore said the group would work with communities on small-scale projects involving landowners, volunteers and other agencies. Peter Plummer, 65, from Church Road, Rawreth, will head the Rawreth action group and has welcomed the council’s approach.

He said: “This is what we have been after. It’s why we have set up our own group.

“I moved into Church Road in 2000 and it never flooded, but in recent years it has done so every year. Something needs to be done.”

Independent Hawkwell West district councillors John and Christine Mason joined local residents clear debris from Hawkwell Brook in December in an effort to prevent flooding similar to that which happened last August.

Mr Mason said: “I welcome the council’s advisory group, but it should not in any way subsidise other authorities which have a budget to deal with flooding, or landowners, who ought to be paying for work on their own land.

“We raised the issue of debris in parts of the brook on land owned by the district and parish councils, but nothing has been done. We hope this will help.”

The council’s new group will consider engineering assessments of flood risk areas, bid for extra funding and lobby the relevant organisations to improve infrastructure.