MPs criticise government flood plans

Government flood cash 'inadequate'
Government flood cash 'inadequate'

MPs have said the government's plans to invest £800 million on flood risk management will not be enough to save the country from another crisis.

The House of Commons environment food and rural affairs committee (Efra) said on Wednesday the £800 million pledged to be invested by 2010/11 was insufficient when compared with the flooding risks the UK faces.

In its report the committee warns the recommendations made in the Pitt Review in response to last year's heavy summer flooding in England and Wales may not be able to be implemented unless the government addresses engineering skills shortages.

MPs also call on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to explain how they decided it would take £34.5 million to implement Sir Michael Pitt's recommendations.

"The public will not forgive the government if it is not seen to be responding to the lessons learnt from the floods of last summer," said committee chairman Michael Jack.

"Our report has shown how confused and chaotic was the infrastructure when it came to preventing and dealing with surface water flooding.

"The government must bring clarity to this situation so that the public, wherever they live, can have peace of mind that every effort is being made to avoid a repeat of the fiasco of last summer."

Wednesday's report backed up previous studies by claiming the country was totally under-prepared for widespread flooding due to heavy rainfall.

It claimed that the infrastructure to deal with heavy rainfall-related flooding was "unclear and chaotic", with no one organisation having responsibility for surface water flooding at a national or local level.

"When the heavy rains started no body was responsible for issuing flood warnings to those people whose properties may be affected," the MPs write.

"When drains began to overflow it was difficult to determine who was responsible for which drains."


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.