The Flood Action Plan being presented to Government has to contain “comprehensive actions to manage flooding in the future” insist Labour councillors It will now clearly be up to the Government to decide what will and what won’t be funded, as David Cameron MP did say, “money was no object”.
The importance of the Action Plan for the communities at risk of flooding will be in it’s demand for funding that avoids the accumulation of expenditure on recovery on the future. The cost of Recovery has not been calculated yet but it will be in the millions and far greater than the request for money in the Action Plan.
Cllr Mick Lerry, Labour PPC for Bridgwater, said: “We cannot control the rainfall, but we can do something about sea level, pumping and drainage. That is why the Parrett Barrier or Sluice is incorporated in the Action Plan, at an estimate of 25 million. This project must be brought forward to control the tide to protect Bridgwater and the Somerset Levels and also allow for water to be pumped off the Moors. Pumping stations and platforms should also be made available along with Dredging and the raising of river banks, to build capacity into the drainage system”.
‘Not true’ that more money spent on flood protection
The Government has to say either yes or no to the Action Plan, they requested the document and local government and agencies have responded. The case for flood protection has been “tabled”.
Cllr Mick Lerry stated:”In the past the Government has said that more funding has been spent on flood protection, when this has not been true, the Government have spent less on flood protection than the previous Government, and at the same time money coming in from other bodies for flood protection has not materialised and even the Government have acknowledged this point. Ian Liddell – Grainger MP must now convince the Government to fund the Action Plan”
Victims ‘little faith’ in Government promises
Flood victim and Labour councillor Julian Taylor added “Among the victims there is little faith in the government promises. There is a funding gap.£10m has been promised, for the simple plan but £100m is needed for the full plan and including roads and rail lines over £280m is required. I think the time table is too long and most of these monies will have to come from local sources and nobody will say how. One thing that is missing is putting a financial responsibility on to the upper catchment area where most of the water comes from. We have had numerous previous reports, in 2002 2009 and 2013 and none of those reports were acted on. Dredging should be from the whole of the river from Taunton and Langport to the mouth and this needs to include the improvements to the centre of Bridgwater.”