In a debate about the recent flooding I held the Government to account over their weak response that have devastated communities across the North of England. The emergency services and military have done a sterling job in their response to the floods ensuring swift and safe rescues for those affected. However, the Government has failed to adequately prepare our country for the effects of climate change and the impacts that flooding has on our communities.
Since 2011 Lancashire Fire and Rescue has lost 241 firefighters because of cuts. I asked the Environment Minister to consider making response to flooding a statutory requirement of the Fire Service, and to bring with it the funding they need, in order to equip our emergency services to respond in the way we all hope they will if we were to be flooded.
It is time for the UK to have a complete rethink about our flood defence system including better management of river catchments, from land use in our upstream areas, to estuaries and lowland areas. If the Government doesn’t act now, it will only be a matter of time before vulnerable communities face further turmoil.
Locally I have continued to meet with and ask questions of the Environment Agency, United Utilities, and Natural England about our local responses to flooding. I’ve also met with local farmers, so often those with the best knowledge of our land and water issues.