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MP Ian Liddell-Granger, Environment Agency, Steart
12:51pm Thursday 11th November 2010 in The latest on the Government Spending Cuts
BRIDGWATER’S MP says a £20million flood scheme near the town is a “complete waste of money” and should be scrapped.
Ian Liddell-Grainger described the Environment Agency’s plans to create a new wetland in Steart as an EU box ticking exercise.
The plans involve letting the sea reclaim the land at Steart Point between the River Parrett and the Severn Estuary, rather than rebuilding its deteriorating flood defences. Some local people have claimed that would leave properties more prone to flooding.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “The benefit to local people would be a swampy marsh that they can’t walk on. In this day and age - when we’re told we can’t have social care, that we have got to cut resources and change the way we do business - to discover the Environment Agency is going to spend £20million because they have to tick a box for Brussels is not acceptable.
“I think it’s a complete waste of money and detrimental to Somerset.”
The Environment Agency says it has a legal responsibility to create wildlife habitats to replace those lost due to “hard” flood defences and rising sea levels.
The agency told the Mercury it was expecting to find out in the next few weeks how much funding it would receive from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which has had £110million cut from its budget for flood defence projects.
An agency spokesman said: “We will continue working with communities and businesses to reduce flood risk, prevent pollution and improve land, air and water quality with the funding we receive.”
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