Thomas Bridge 17 June 2014

Prioritise flood protection over cost cutting, MPs say

Flooding could return unless the Government ‘takes action’ and increases funding for maintenance, MPs have said.

An inquiry into the winter floods by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee today warned ministers not to ‘neglect’ preservation of flood defences and watercourses.

Record levels of rainfall in parts of England and Wales meant last winter was the wettest in over 200 years, with some 7,000 properties being flooded. Areas of Somerset were under water for three months.

While prime minister David Cameron said in February that ‘money was no object’ in supporting flood affected communities, the committee today concluded a large proportion of the ‘additional’ funding announced by the Government was instead simply ‘reallocated’.

The committee piled further pressure on ministers to provide fully funded plans that address the backlog of dredging and watercourse maintenance.

Chair of the committee, Anne McIntosh, said: ‘We have repeatedly called on the Government to increase revenue funding so that necessary dredging and watercourse maintenance can be carried out to minimise flood risk, yet funding for maintenance remains at a bare minimum.

‘Ministers must take action now to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods.’

‘Regular work to dredge and keep rivers clear can be an essential flood prevention measure, yet this is exactly what gets squeezed out when budgets are tight,’ she added.

The report on winter floods also concluded it was ‘essential’ that Environment Agency funding cuts did not impact on the distribution of money to particular areas.

McIntosh also voiced support for devolving maintenance activity to internal drainage boards and local landowners.

‘Local knowledge is key and flood risk management priorities must reflect the local circumstances,’ McIntosh said.

Labour’s shadow environment secretary, Maria Eagle, said: ‘The Tory-led Government’s response to the winter floods was slow and chaotic. Ministers cut the funding Labour provided in government and the Select Committee says they are now unable to deal with the long term flood risk.

‘They failed to prepare for the floods, they don’t take the threat of climate change seriously and they don’t have a coherent strategy to deal with the problem in the future.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Travel Information Data Technician

Essex County Council
Up to £25581 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to work across all aspects of the Integrated Passenger Transport Unit (IPTU). Working with a passionate and dedicated England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager

Essex County Council
£57621 - £61410 per annum
Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager Permanent, Full Time £57,621 to £61,410 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Accountant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£39,571 - £42,614
Are you a qualified Accountant looking to take the next step in your career? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Family Assessment Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£25,419 to £27,514
We have a great opportunity for a full time Family Assessment Worker in the Parenting Assessment Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,023 - £24,920
The post holder will tackle environmental crimes and unlawful parking. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.