MP calls for action to prevent future Somerset flooding
MP Tessa Munt has
called for action to prevent future heavy rain causing a repeat
of the damage recently brought to low-lying areas of Somerset.
A flood summit took place in the county on Friday in the wake
of the floods that struck late last year and among the
outcomes was an agreement for a major review of how different
agencies co-ordinate their work and take responsibility.
the meeting in Taunton, MP Tessa Munt called for the logging and
mapping of every gully, with the help of local communities, and
for the county council to give each a priority status for cleaning.
Somerset Flood Summit looked to learn lessons from recent flooding
incidents across the county.
The morning session included presentations from agencies and organisations
involved in flood management such as the Environment Agency, Met
Office, Somerset County Council, Somerset Internal Drainage Board,
Wessex Water and the Country Land and Business Association. A
panel question time session saw delegates put their questions
to the panel which also included Ian Liddell Grainger MP and Tessa
The afternoon sessions included four workshops which discussed
such issues as Community Resilience, Business Continuity/Economic
Impact, Flood Prevention and also Inter-agency working. Each was
designed to answer points raised by the delegates before the meeting.
A plenary session was held where delegates could contribute to
the Summit with prepared material.
said: "We knew that we wouldnt have all the answers,
but having all the key agencies represented is a positive step
forward. At the moment the Environment Agency has as one of its
aims the protection of housing, habitat and wildlife, which is
valid, but they must include the protection of productive land.
We need to encourage and protect farmers and not dismiss them."
have asked Richard Benyon, the Minister responsible for flooding
at DEFRA, to visit my part of the Axe and Brue river valleys so
he can see for himself, and meet those who have suffered as a
result of flooding. He has agreed and those arrangements are being
made at the moment."
Kerry Rickards, Chief Executive of Sedgemoor District Council,
said: "The summit is a great initiative which I applaud and
an essential part of understanding how the various agencies involved
may play their part in trying to mitigate the tragedy for all
those affected. This is all about better understanding and co-ordination
of efforts to combat flooding in the future. It isnt just
about money, it is how as agencies we work more intelligently
with each other, our farming community, our villages and most
importantly individual households and businesses who are at risk
from future downpours."
"As far as possible we need to agree plans before it rains
instead of relying on emergency sandbags as the water levels rise.
I am however a realist, there will be things we can do and things
we cannot. The enormous forces of nature in an unprecedented flooding
event as experienced will determine the depth of floods across
much of the Somerset levels. We can, and must, work together to
try to mitigate this."
the summit, a report will be compiled and circulated to all delegates.
The Steering Group will meet again in April to agree how any actions
identified at the summit will be taken forward.