Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Martin Horwood MP (FL MP 02)

  Seven questions resulting from the aftermath of the severe flooding event in and around my constituency:

  1.  Why did critical facilities such as the Mythe pumping station and the Walham electricity substation not have adequate flood defences in place?

  2.  Why, when we had nearly a week's notice of the rains, were those homes and businesses at risk of flash flooding still not protected with sandbags or diversionary trenches?

  3.  Why has so much damage in Cheltenham happened on uphill areas where culverts and drains seem to have been poorly maintained making brooks and streams normally a few inches deep rise up to 15 feet to inundate nearby homes?

  4.  Why have houses in the centre of Cheltenham been flooded twice in a month when our brand new flood alleviation scheme costing £23 million was supposed to protect against a once in 100 year flood?

  5.  How will the government and the insurance industry respond to those people whose houses have never flooded before but who now face falling house prices and spiralling insurance premiums?

  6.  With climate change promising many more events like this, will the government rethink its plans to plough ahead with hundreds of thousands of new homes on Greenfield sites in flood risk areas like Gloucestershire regardless of the environmental impact?

  7.  Ofwat have already conceded that the loss of water supply was beyond Severn Trent's control, meaning that they will not be liable for compensating those customers who went without water. I would like to know how they have reached this decision before the review has taken place. It is not impossible to conceive that Severn Trent might have been able to prevent the inundation of the pumping station, in spite of the unprecedented nature of the floods. Those in charge at the Walham electricity substation were able to do this, for example. Is the Ofwat decision therefore not a little premature?

Martin Horwood MP


August 2007

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 7 May 2008