Firstly, may I wish you a happy new year. I hope you had an enjoyable festive season and had some time to relax with family and friends. I know so many continue working over the festive period and are instrumental in keeping our key services running so thank you to all who play this crucial role.
It has been an incredibly wet start to the year, with us now moving into some really cold weather. At the beginning of the month, we saw heavy rain over several days leading to high levels of flooding over areas of our towns and villages.
I know so many people locally recall the dreadful floods of 1998 and the terrible impact it had on so many people and homes. The floods we saw recently didn’t quite reach that level but came very close. As I cycled into the office on Wednesday morning, there were some pretty shocking scenes of the local parks completely underwater.
For so many who live in vulnerable areas, the floods bring a wave of worry about the impact on their homes and the possible flood damage they may be subjected to. Nationally, one in six properties are at risk of flooding and it is estimated that the Government’s failure to act against the risk of floods has cost the economy nearly £4billion since 2010.
We can’t afford to ignore this problem and leave local people and businesses vulnerable to the threat of flooding.
I really welcome my colleagues in the shadow environment team’s proposals to establish a Flood Resilience Taskforce that will meet early on every winter ahead of the peak season for flooding.
They would coordinate flooding preparation and resilience between central government, local authorities, local communities, and emergency services. This would ensure that vulnerable areas are identified and protected through drainage systems, flood defences and natural flood management schemes completed on time.
Importantly, it would see action being taken before disaster hits, not just trying to pick up the pieces afterwards.
We are now seeing far more frequent flooding. I have been told that since 2011, the Pump Rooms have flooded five times but three of these floods have been since 2019. To have had two floods in eight years and then three in the past four years is a big increase and shows the undeniable impact of climate change.
It is incredibly frustrating to see these blatant signs of climate change and simultaneously witness the Government showing no urgency on taking action to tackle the climate emergency. Just this week, the Conservative Government voted through plans to mandate annual licensing rounds for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. The plans are so unpopular that their own former energy Minister resigned both the Conservative whip and as an MP.
We cannot hide our heads in the sand on climate change and continue as normal. We must take serious action to tackle this serious problem. We’re not seeing this threat being treated with the gravity it warrants under this Government.
As always, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any issues or concerns you would like to raise with me. I can be reached on [email protected] or on 01926 882006.