MP to speak out about Somerset Levels flood defence failings
The Environment Agency’s strategy for flood defence on the Somerset Levels will be condemned in Parliament today.
Bridgwater and West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger will speak in a Westminster Hall debate on the future of the Environment Agency. He has condemned the agency’s flood defence strategy as “not fit for purpose and failing”.
He is backing calls by farmers and local businesses for pinch points of the rivers Tone and Parrett to be dredged to prevent a repeat of the catastrophic flooding which has left farmland under water for months, and left some homes and businesses waterlogged three times last year, as well as closing the A361 Glastonbury to Taunton road for weeks.
“We’ve been fighting for more funding for a range of things which will improve the way the Levels deals with flooding and the Environment Agency says it has no money, and then it spends £31 million on a realignment project at Steart Point,” he said.
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He has also called for pumps and pumping stations to be upgraded, and accused Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith of “insulting” those battling the floods by blaming the waters on a ‘new type’ of rain.