Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Sir Peter Tapsell MP (FL MP 14a)
This is a good summary by a constituent of mine
of the packed public meeting we had on 3 October, at my instigation,
in Louth Town Hall, following the recent flooding in my constituency
which I attended and which I thought you might like to see.
Sir Peter Tapsell MP
11 October 2007
All official representative at Louth Public
Flood Meeting held on 03.10.07.
Dear representatives of the Environment Agency,
Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board, Lincolnshire County Council, Anglian
Water, East Lindsey District Council, Louth Town Council and Sir
Further to the public meeting held at Louth
Town Hall on 03.10.07 in regard to the recent floods:
At this meeting the floor was packed with local
residents, many of whom remain devastated by the recent floods.
We all wanted questions answered and firm promises made with confidence
about the strategies that will be taken to prevent such a large-scale
disaster from recurring.
Having listened to and spoken with fellow members
of the audience on the floor and having put two questions to the
representatives on stage myself, I have to report, through publishing
this letter wherever possible, that questions were not answered
and our confidence in the authorities on stage was not inspired.
In general terms the authorities seem to be
resting behind a degree of complacency. For example the quote
"A flood like this only happens once in 200 years" was
mentioned by representatives of the Environment Agency at least
twice but they made no reference whatsoever to "Climate Change".
In fact the statistics quoted have been proved to be no indicator
whatsoever as we had two serious floods within two months. All
informed and observant citizens are aware that the climate is
indeed changing and that the predictions are that flooding is
going to be a serious problem in the future. We cannot afford
to be complacent and we cannot have confidence in authorities
that hide behind unrealistic statistics. We need immediate action,
forward planning and a lot of funding to meet the challenges ahead.
We need to know that the authorities have employees with the required
abilities to meet these challenges.
Some questions the "authorities" did
not even attempt to answer. They just sat on stage, staring at
each other with open mouths. They simply did not know what to
say and had no answers. This caricature vision could have struck
the audience as being very funny if the frightening reality that
the "authorities" were uncoordinated and uninformed
was not so deadly serious.
Clearly the "authorities" need galvanising
into action. They need to do the jobs they are paid for and do
them conscientiously and well. They need to be shaken out of this
complacency and realise they are dealing with intelligent human
beings with a lot of common sense and justifiable concerns. They
need to listen to these people and instead of finding excuses
to get by with not putting in maximum effort, they need to take
up this campaign with zest and enthusiasm to ensure Louth is protected,
as much as is humanely possible, from future flooding. They would
then find it is far more rewarding to do their job well. Once
the "people" know they can trust and work with the "authorities",
instead of feeling bucks are being passed and excuses made, everyone
would be able to work together constructively. If employees of
these "authorities" are not up to their job they should
As a result of the meeting clear issues were
raised that did not receive clear answers. These issues are as
Waterways need to be dredged regularly
and need to be seen to be.
There needs to be a central co-ordinator
at times of risk of flooding.
Additional drainage/reservoir engineering
works in the Wolds to prevent surges of flood into Louth need
to be funded urgently.
Drains in Louth need to be cleared
regularlywith forward planning there should be no lame
excuses (such as were made at the meeting) that parked cars over
drains prevents this vital maintenance.
Building on the flood plains is a
hazard that has not and it not being adequately addressed. Had
the planners employed even elementary common sense the plans for
any hard landscaping on the flood plain should never have been
In conclusion I would like to raise again the
two questions I raised at the meeting which the "authorities"
failed to answer.
1. I have supplied the Environment Agency
with photographs of the June flooding on the flood plain building
site adjacent to the canal at the end of Riverhead Road. When
those buildings are actually erected and the site covered with
hard landscaping, where will that flood water go in future floods
and exactly what measures are being taken to protect third parties/neighbouring
areas (which is a requirement in law), such as Thames Street,
which at present is not at risk of flooding, but could be in the
future as a result of this new development?
2. How come I got a phone call from "floodline"
early in the morning and well before the flood, on the day of
the flood, to warn me of imminent danger to life and property,
so that I was prepared, yet the person responsible for sounding
the siren which could have warned and prepared others who were
not registered with "floodline", did not know there
was imminent danger and failed to sound the siren in time?
Prisca Furlong (Mrs)