July 30, 2014
Burnham's MP unhappy at 'snub' from new Environment Minister

Burnham-On-Sea's MP says she is disappointed that new Environment Secretary Liz Truss visited Somerset earlier this week but failed to take the opportunity to meet with a group of local farmers and landowners from the Axe and Brue catchment areas.

Tessa Munt says she wrote to the new Secretary of State and personally invited her to meet farmers and smallholders in Somerset on the day she was given her new job.

Tessa told "I've spent countless hours in discussion with the last two Ministers about how we can best avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by winter flooding."

"It was agreed that we needed a 'whole catchment approach' if the government is to be successful in protecting people, property and productive land from long-term flood damage."

"The new Minister's predecessors made some sound decisions after they visited Somerset. We're all waiting with baited breath to see if they will deliver the goods."

"I spent a good part of the weekend speaking with farmers and we’re not convinced that Defra is sticking to its original approach, which is worrying. Expectations are high - the Prime Minister himself committed to doing whatever was necessary and he said 'money is no object' at the time."

"This issue should not be made a political one. We all want the same thing - to avoid a repeat of the damage when water lies on the land for weeks and weeks."

Tessa said: "I know local people will be disappointed that she was unwilling to meet with them. I have the means to contact 1,100 affected smallholders, tenants and farmers with land abutting the Axe and Brue Rivers at short notice, and although they have missed out this time, I will write to Liz Truss again, asking that she meet those affected in my area so she understands these problems are not limited to the Parrett and the Tone."

Pictured: Top, Burnham's MP Tessa Munt, and, above, minister Liz Truss

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