Memorandum submitted by the Rt Hon David
Cameron MP (FL MP 15)
Thank you for your letter of 24th July, giving
me notice that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select
Committee will be examining flooding when the House returns.
I am most grateful for letting me know about
this inquiry, particularly because my own constituency of Witney
was so badly hit during the recent floods. I am sorry for the
delay in getting back in touch with you, but I have been keen
to consult with both members of my local community in Witney who
were affected by the floods, and also with the Shadow DEFRA Team.
Please find attached some issues that the Committee
might like to consider in their upcoming inquiry.
Thank you, once again, for taking the time and
trouble to get in touch with me. I hope these suggestions are
THE EFRA COMMITTEE
The vulnerability of our public infrastructure
to flooding and the siting and resilience of key water and electricity
installations (for example, Walham Power Station, which supplies
500,000 homes, was very nearly inundated).
The impact of last year's £14
million cut to the Environment Agency's maintenance budget.
Co-ordinationboth at Government
level and regionally/locally. Chief fire officers have commented
on institutional confusion between the numerous agencies involved
in dealing with floods. There appears a need for a much clearer
line of responsibility for flood prevention and tackling emergencies.
Communication between the Environment
Agency, Met Office, emergency services and local authorities.
Building on flood plains. Half the
post-war building in the UK is on flood plains, and a lot of new
building is destined to be so built. At present, a quarter of
all planning applications opposed by the Environment Agency still
go ahead. The Environment Agency was given new powers in January
to refer such developments to the Secretary of State.
The priority accorded by local authorities
and the highway agencies towards the essential work of properly
maintaining drains and culverts.
The adequacy of early warning systems
and information available to the public, given the specific and
advance warnings of extreme weather that the Met Office can provide.
The efficacy and location of temporary
flood barriers (there were reports that the Environment Agency
was unable to install vital flood defences because they were stored
too far away from where they were needed and got caught in the
general chaos that made the roads impassable).
Rt Hon David Cameron MP