Mark Whitehead 09 September 2016

Council accuses Government of not taking the risk of flooding 'seriously enough'

Council accuses Government of not taking the risk of flooding seriously enough image

The Government has set aside £12.5m for new temporary flood defences in England after finding more than 500 key infrastructure sites were still vulnerable.

The review was ordered after 16,000 houses across northern England were flooded during the wettest December in a century last year.

However the leader of Leeds council Judith Blake accused the Government of failing to take the risk of flooding in her area seriously and demanded action to provide protection on the River Aire.

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom said the review set out 'clear actions so we are better prepared to respond quickly in the event of future flooding and can strengthen the nation's flood defences'.

She said the Government was also investing £2.5bn by 2021 to protect families, homes and businesses from flooding.

Utility companies will increase flood protection of their key local infrastructure such as phone networks and water treatment works and a new 'stress test' of the risk of flooding will be set up.

Met Office forecasts of extreme rainfall scenarios will be linked for the first time with Environment Agency modelling to provide a new assessment of flood risk.

Cllr Blake said: 'Leeds is barely mentioned in this report which really does smack of the government not taking the risk here seriously.

'Storm Eva caused absolute devastation for residents and businesses in Leeds, with many still recovering.

'The people of Leeds need the new Secretary of State to come out and confirm she will stick to the promises made to the city by her predecessor earlier this year, namely that funding will be made available to provide protection from the River Aire upstream from Leeds Station along the Kirkstall Road corridor.'

Calderdale MBC leader Tim Swift told The MJ the role of local government had been ‘really downplayed’ in the report and claimed councils were best placed to ‘make connections on the ground’.

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A commitment to civil debate

Cllr Arooj Shah has been the target of recent threats and harassment. Leaders from all parties in Oldham have now come together to add their signature to a ‘politics, not personalities’ pledge, she explains.
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