Austin Macauley 13 November 2014

Council calls for clarity over funding for Somerset floods authority

Plans to set up a new authority designed to protect Somerset from future flooding have been backed by the county council.

But there are still question marks over the funding of the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), despite it being central to an action plan ordered by the Government following severe floods last winter.

Somerset County Council’s cabinet this week endorsed the proposals and revealed leader John Osman is seeking a meeting with environment secretary Elizabeth Truss and communities secretary Eric Pickles to ensure funding is made available to get the SRA up and running in 2015.

‘All of us involved in the 20-year flood action plan are adamant that an independent, transparent and accountable Somerset Rivers Authority is essential if we are to reduce the likelihood and impact of future flooding in Somerset,’ said Cllr Osman.

‘Together we have done so much, but there is still so much more work to do. The Government must know that the steps they take have implications not just for our county, but for the whole of the south west peninsula which was effectively cut off by last winter’s extreme floods.

‘As things stand, we are entirely in the Government’s hands as to how quickly and effectively we are able to do this, and I am urging a meeting with Elizabeth Truss and Eric Pickles to thrash out with them what is to be done.

‘Until we get their absolute assurance that the Government will commit to the vital funding we need to set up this key authority for Somerset, we will continue banging the drum for the investment our county’s flood-affected communities deserve.’

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