MP says government support after floods must continue
MP has urged the Government to continue investment in "essential"
flood defence schemes in the face of the ever-increasing threats
of coastal flooding.
Heappey, MP for Wells, praised ministers for the multi-million
pound improvements which have already taken place in Somerset
area in the wake of last year's floods.
he stressed the need for ongoing Government support for these
projects to avoid a repeat of 2014's devastation and to allow
the county to provide an example to other vulnerable areas of
Heappey welcomed "all that has been done to help" so
far, but stressed the importance of continuing to investing in
these defences even in times of good weather.
too long the problem has been that flooding has been discussed
only when it is raining or the wind is blowing and the seas are
at their most violent," he said during a parliamentary debate.
"We have learned that the key to protecting our countryside
and towns from flooding is persistent effort rather than going
from crisis to crisis."
comments came during a special debate on coastal flood risk, in
which MPs called on the Government to take "urgent action"
to prepare for the "inevitable impacts" of climate change.
Labour MP Melanie Onn, who led the Commons debate, said the issue
of flooding typically received "little or no attention"
from Westminster "until a major flooding incident occurs".
Heappey pressed the Government on the role that the SRA will play
and on how it will be funded in the future.
the authoritys heart is the belief that the solution [to
flooding] was a locally sensitive, dynamic organisation that would
tackle the causes of flooding across the entire catchment area.
That is welcome, although I should report to the Minister that
there are still some conflicts between the community and conservationists.
Im sure hell agree that when push comes to shove,
the community and local business must win out on this issue."
Department has been looking at the enduring options for funding
the Somerset Rivers Authority. Will he update us on what point
those options have reached and whether the Department is close
to being able to offer Somerset County Council its recommendations
on how the authority should be funded in the future?"
Environment Minister Rory Stewart was unable to reply during the
debate itself, he subsequently informed Mr Heappey that DEFRA
had concluded its study and the recommendations were with the
Secretary of State for consideration.
in his speech, Mr Heappey commended the Bridgwater Bay Lagoon
as an opportunity for further protection from high tides at Burnham-On-Sea.
afterwards, James Heappey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "It was
reassuring to see Parliamentary time being given to flooding whilst
the weather is good and it is far from the top of the political
agenda. It is vital we talk about this all year round."
SRA has made good progress in the first year but we need to give
the organisation certainty over its role and funding so that an
enduring solution to Somersets flood risk can be delivered.
I look forward to seeing what DEFRA recommend for the long term
funding of the SRA and will work with the County Council to make
sure it is a funding model that is fair for all in Somerset."
Environment Agency has spent more than £25million on a range
of measures, including river dredging, updating pump infrastructure
and creating a Somerset Rivers Authority.