West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has this month met with the Water Minister, Dan Rogerson MP, at the
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on Wednesday 15 July 2014 to push for progress on a
solution for Alt-Crossens drainage management to avoid further flooding in the future.
Representatives from across West Lancashire, Sefton and South Ribble attended the meeting with Members of
Parliament, Environment Agency, United Utilities, National Farmers Union, Country Land and Business
Association, West Lancashire Borough Council and Lancashire County Council.
Due to Government cuts to the Environment Agency budget new drainage management and pumping station
operation arrangements need to be introduced.
The preferred option is for an internal drainage board, as exists in other areas of the country. To date efforts to
agree the funding for an internal drainage board locally have stalled.
West Lancashire homeowners and food producing landowners have been hit by severe flooding in recent years
causing significant and costly damage to properties and crops. In response to the floods in 2012 MP Rosie
Cooper held flooding forum meetings with agencies and residents to help find ways to improve protection from
flooding for homes and land.
At the Borough Council's meeting on 18 December 2013 it was decided the Borough Council would not provide
funding for the internal drainage board. MP Rosie was asked to support this position but refused to do so as a
stalemate and failure to find a solution will only store up trouble for the future.
Initial costings on the Drainage Board indicated a cost around £800,000 to set up. Half of this would come from
drainage rates paid by local farmers and the other half from a Special Levy contributed by local authorities on
behalf of non-land managers in the area.
However West Lancashire Borough Council has so far refused to pay its portion of the cost.
There are definitely conversations to be had about Environment Agency's continued responsibility for some of
the pumps and ways of bringing down the costs of the Internal Drainage Board. West Lancashire Borough
Council needs to engage in this process and maybe the eventual solution and costings can be more
Rosie wrote to DEFRA ministers to raise her concerns and requested a meeting take place to push for a
resolution to the impasse.
MP Rosie said:
"Homeowners and landowners across West Lancashire are still living with the impact of the floods in 2012.
"Across West Lancashire and Sefton agriculture and horticulture provide employment for more than 2,500
people and generate more than £230 million to the regional economy. We simply cannot afford to lose this.
"The Minister wants a progress update in autumn. Before we head into another winter we need to see progress
on the creation of an internal drainage board for the Alt-Crossens catchment.
"Having seen the damage flooding caused to West Lancashire we need to find a solution for the future of
drainage management to ensure better protection of homes and food-producing land.
"Doing nothing is not an option. Waiting for someone else to take responsibility is not an option. I encourage
West Lancashire Borough Council on behalf of all their residents to find a workable solution, find a good
compromise which protects all the council tax payers and their interests as the Minister was very, very clear,
the Government will not be providing any cash or grants to help resolve this problem. It has to be sorted locally.