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Ministers ‘too slow’ to act over flooding
8:51am Saturday 2nd February 2013 in News
The Government has been too slow in bringing in measures that will protect homes and businesses from the “shattering” impact of flooding, MPs have warned.
The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee, chaired by Anne McIntosh, the MP for Thirsk and Malton, said the draft Water Bill would help increase competition in the provision of water supplies for customers.
But ministers are not showing enough urgency in implementing measures that will improve the country’s resilience to flooding and drought, the MPs said.
Ms McIntosh said: “Widespread flooding has once again wrought devastation and heartache in communities across the country, including in my constituency.
“Solutions that would reduce the impact of flooding are out there and would make a difference but successive governments have not had the mettle to put them into practice.”
A report from the committee criticised the failure to create sustainable drainage systems to prevent flooding from surface water, through measures such as stopping people laying impermeable surfaces in back gardens and businesses.
And ministers are taking too long over moves to improve the safety of reservoirs at risk of flooding, the report on the draft Water Bill said.
Concerns were also raised that local authorities and the Environment Agency are not paying enough attention to dredging and maintaining water courses, which can have a major impact on flood risk.
The MPs also called on ministers to provide more information on the solutions being considered to ensure homeowners at high risk of flooding, including residents in large parts of York and North and East Yorkshire, continue to have access to affordable insurance after a deal on the issue expires later this year.