Memorandum submitted by Clive Betts MP
(FL MP 16)
I received a letter from the EFRA Committee
Chair, Michael Jack, at the end of the Parliamentary session with
regard to your committee's forthcoming enquiry into flooding,
as my constituency has been affected. The following are issues
of general relevance which have arisen out of the floods which
I believe would benefit from investigation.
1. DIVISION OF
The division of responsibility for drainage
between local authorities, the Environment Agency and water companies
needs to be examined. Flooding problems in an area can often be
due to a combination of different factors for which different
authorities have responsibility and it is often not precisely
clear who is responsible for what. There may even be some matters
for which no-one appears to have responsibility. In general there
is no overall authority which can act as the lead co-ordinator.
This is an issue which was raised with me very strongly by officers
of Sheffield City Council and one which I think requires further
2. POWER STATIONS
The siting of electricity sub-stations near
to rivers needs to be examined. One of the problems in Sheffield
was caused by the flooding of the Neepsend power station and others
were at significant risk. This could have led to sections of the
city being without power for several days if floods had been even
(a) Many people in low income households
appear not to have had insurance. It was obviously right to try
and provide assistance to them but, where assistance is offered,
should it only help those who did not have insurance? In the longer
term does it not then discourage people from taking out insurance?
On the other hand, should state funds be used to help people who
have their losses covered by insurance?
(b) Most companies that I came across had
insurance but many were not insured to replace older equipment
damaged in the floods beyond repair with new equipment, which
was the only replacement available. Also a great number of firms
were not covered for loss of business and many of them were closed
down for several weeks, during which time they received no income,
and there could possibly be a knock on effect in that loss of
customers could become permanent. The whole issue of insurance
for loss of business is one which I think needs investigating
and hopefully given some publicity.
I hope this is helpful to the Committee's enquiry.
Clive Betts MP