Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, used a Westminster Hall debate on the 19th November to warn that there are serious concerns about how prepared the country is for another winter of flooding.
The chance of a catastrophic flood happening in England within the next two decades, causing in excess of £10 billion in damage, is around 10 per cent. But the Tory-led Government has failed to take the right decisions on managing flood risk. As a result the Committee on Climate Change warns that Government plans will put an extra 330,000 properties at risk of flooding by 2035.
Kirklees has 2,286 properties at medium to very high risk of flooding yet a number of recent reports cast serious doubt over the Government’s role in managing flood risk.
- A National Audit Office report showed that flood risk is rising as half the nation’s flood defences have been left with “minimal” maintenance.
- A select committee reported last month that only half of the flood defences in need of urgent repair as a result of the winter floods have been completed.
- This weekend saw media reports of a secret Government report has shown that thousands of areas along Britain’s rivers are in danger of flooding as a result of poor maintenance.
Paula Sherriff, Labour’s Candidate for Dewsbury and Mirfield said:
“There is no doubt that flood risk management has gone backwards under this Tory-led Government. David Cameron has abandoned the last Labour government’s robust plans for reducing flood risk, slashed the budgets, crossed his fingers and hoped for the best.
“We saw last winter that flooding can shut down parts of the country for weeks at a time. The Government must show leadership to prevent another winter of misery this winter.
“In the face of the strong scientific evidence on man made climate change this Government have simply failed to grasp the gravity of the problem we face. It has taken a short-term approach when a long-term one is needed. We know that David Cameron’s climate failure will put an extra 2,286 properties in Kirklees at risk from flooding in the next Parliament.
“Meanwhile all Dewsbury’s part-time Tory MP can do is kick the can down the road by publically ignoring the findings of the Environment Agency to cover the back’s of his friends in London.
“The next Labour Government will reprioritise long-term preventative spending that will reduce flood risk, and establish an independent National Infrastructure Commission to identify the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs, including flood defences.”