Thomas Bridge 17 June 2014

Prioritise flood protection over cost cutting, MPs say

Prioritise flood protection over cost cutting, MPs say image

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.’

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV image

Time for a council tax precept to fund CCTV

The crisis in funding for CCTV systems is not being addressed by the government or the police and is leading to the curtailment of this vital service in local authorities across the country. How can we ensure that communities that want this service continue to receive it, asks Tom Reeve.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior infrastructure engineer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£45.834 - £56.141
You’ll lead the building, testing and monitoring new and existing services both on-prem and in the cloud. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Infrastructure engineer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£37.772 - £46.999
This is a great role in a vibrant and growing team; we’re looking for people who have some experience in infrastructure engineering... Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Solutions Architect

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Solutions ArchitectPermanent, Full TimeCompetitive SalaryLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Head of Growth, Investment and Tourism – Dover District Council

Dover District Council
Competitive Salary
In this role, you will find significant and nationally important physical, economic and cultural assets with the capacity to... Dover, Kent
Recuriter: Dover District Council

Monitoring Officer / Assistant Director Legal, Registration & Electoral Services

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£90,205 per annum         
This is an exciting time to join Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council and an opportunity to make a real difference. Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue