After the devastating experience for flood victims on the Somerset Levels now is an important time for action to avoid a repeat of flooding to properties in the future. The next stage for Local Authorities and Agencies is to make sure that the action plan which is being produced by DEFRA for the Government, has the necessary infrastructure put in place to deal with the causes of flooding.
Cllr Mick Lerry, Sedgemoor Labour Leader and PPC for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “We cannot do anything about rainfall but we can have a plan of action to deal with sea level and water drainage. Both will be expensive in the initial stages to deal with, but we have to compare that with the costs of flooding to the road and rail network, businesses and properties.”
The next stage will be moving from ‘response to flooding’ to ‘recovery’ and the necessary action plan to avoid a repeat of the last couple of months.
County’s responsibility to produce recovery plan
Cllr Mick Lerry stated: “ As flood victims start to move back into their properties there needs to be a proper recovery programme in place to help them return to some form of normal life. At the moment Somerset County Council have not produced a recovery plan and this is their responsibility to do so . There will be a need to communicate now to people on the Somerset levels, as to what will be put in place to assist those communities devastated by flooding.”
Flood waters in the stricken village of Moorland have dropped by approximately 18 inches although the main road is still waist deep in places. James Hall, a local farmer who was affected by flooding, said he believed that the government’s offer of a £5,000 grant was just “a drop in the ocean.” He said the cost won’t cover the loses at his farm, or the work that still needs to be done.
Labour Councillor Julian Taylor, who was also evacuated during the floods, said “David Cameron’s promise that money is no object has now been modified to be ‘Money is no object in the emergency phase only’. Nothing further has been heard about the re-insure scheme, affordable premiums or the funding of long term works.”
27th February 2014
Cllr Mick Lerry – Leader of the Labour Group on Sedgemoor District Council
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Bridgwater and West Somerset.