Flood inquiry would be a waste of money, claims MP

This is The West Country: Flood inquiry would be a waste of money, claims MP Flood inquiry would be a waste of money, claims MP

A PUBLIC enquiry into why people in Somerset were not listened to ahead of the devastating floods is not needed and would be a waste of money, claims Bridgwater’s MP.

Ian Liddell-Grainger MP met Prime Minister David Cameron last week as it was announced that over £20million is to be spent on repairing roads and making it less likely that communities will be cut off by future floods.

He told the Mercury: “We’re continuing to put pressure on the Government. Money is still coming and Somerset has not been forgotten.”

But Bridgwater councillor Mick Lerry has called for a public inquiry into the problems which led to the flooding and is urging Mr Liddell-Grainger to ask the Government to implement one.

He said: “Many flood victims still feel uncertain about flooding in the future.

“There should be a public inquiry to understand what went wrong in order to avoid the flooding of homes and businesses on the Levels.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said a public inquiry was discussed months ago with the PM, and it was felt it would “cost a fortune, take too much time to complete and reveal nothing new”.

He said: “The Government is fully aware that the situation was mishandled by the Environment Agency.

“If people want an inquiry to have someone to blame the finger has already pointed at the EA – that’s why the new chairman is an engineer.

“A public inquiry would have been useful in 2000 when initial problems with flood defences were identified – it’s too late now.”

Meanwhile, a petition for the public inquiry at http://epetitions.direct. gov.uk/petitions/60005 has attracted over 500 signatures.

The MP and the PM also discussed the Bridgwater barrage – a number of plans have been drawn up, looking at different options, such as a hydro-electric barrage or a road going over the top.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said the barrage would run above Dunball with defence works either side on the bank.

He said: “The EA realise that they are being scrutinised by locals and the Government.”

Comments (1)

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2:06pm Thu 22 May 14

Hippiepig says...

A public inquiry is useful when there are complicated strands of responsibility and / or a need to establish what actually happened, often drawing together many perspectives to provide a coherent narrative. In the case of this flood it is clear what happened and why.

We need instead look forward - we have less than six months before it will start raining again. Will the dredge be finished in time? Is there a robust operational plan for using the Sowy / KSD relief channel? Have the urgent maintenance issues at Northmoor pumping station been fixed? Should we have a large 9 cubic metres per second pump at Northmoor so that Bridgwater is not placed in danger again? Are there clear trigger points for starting and increasing pumping at Northmoor and Saltmoor pumping stations? The EA need to focus on these vital plans, not preparing - in a defensive manner - for questioning by a public inquiry.

I am delighted that the new Chair of the Environment Agency is an Engineer. An engineer would have asked the EA 20 years ago if your policy is to stop dredging the Parrett how are you going to deal with the extra water the river will not be able to carry in the future? A simple question that I doubt senior managers at the EA would have been able to answer.
A public inquiry is useful when there are complicated strands of responsibility and / or a need to establish what actually happened, often drawing together many perspectives to provide a coherent narrative. In the case of this flood it is clear what happened and why. We need instead look forward - we have less than six months before it will start raining again. Will the dredge be finished in time? Is there a robust operational plan for using the Sowy / KSD relief channel? Have the urgent maintenance issues at Northmoor pumping station been fixed? Should we have a large 9 cubic metres per second pump at Northmoor so that Bridgwater is not placed in danger again? Are there clear trigger points for starting and increasing pumping at Northmoor and Saltmoor pumping stations? The EA need to focus on these vital plans, not preparing - in a defensive manner - for questioning by a public inquiry. I am delighted that the new Chair of the Environment Agency is an Engineer. An engineer would have asked the EA 20 years ago if your policy is to stop dredging the Parrett how are you going to deal with the extra water the river will not be able to carry in the future? A simple question that I doubt senior managers at the EA would have been able to answer. Hippiepig
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