On 12 July, Rosie Cooper MP asked a Prime Minister’s Question which was directed to the First Secretary of State, Damian Green MP, in the Prime Minister’s absence.
MP Rosie brought to the attention of the House the unfair funding arrangements set by central Government to deal with flooding in West Lancashire, and specifically addressed the threat by the Environment Agency to turn off Alt Crossens pumping station.
Damian Green MP said these concerns were ‘reasonable’ and invited MP Rosie to discuss it further with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The question comes as we pass the 18 month mark from the Boxing Day 2016 floods which devastated homes, business, and land in West Lancashire yet there is still no sustainable solution agreed to manage flooding in the area.
Rosie has long campaigned for the setting up of an Internal Drainage Board but this relies heavily on funding which local agencies don’t have, and the Government has so far refused to take responsibility.
Rosie Cooper, Labour West Lancashire:
How can the Government continue to justify not providing fair and equitable funding arrangements for West Lancashire to support water level management organisations, otherwise known as drainage boards, to help protect homes and the agriculture and horticulture industries critical to the local economy, instead of causing the Environment Agency to threaten to turn off the Alt Crossens pumping station?
Damian Green, First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office, Conservative, Ashford
The hon. Lady raises a reasonable point about the Environment Agency. It is the Environment Agency’s duty to ensure that water supplies are good and safe. If she wishes to bring up this issue with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I am sure he will be happy to talk to her about it.
After the Question, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper commented:
“Residents in West Lancashire are being devastated by flooding increasingly regularly to the point where many live in fear each time it rains.
“Since the Boxing Day floods in 2015, we have seen little to no progress on the setting up of an Internal Drainage Board, and a lack of leadership from the designated Local Lead flood Authority, Lancashire County Council.
“To add to this we have been served the notice of the closure of five satellite pumping stations, which will only exacerbate the situation.
“I will take this opportunity to follow up with the Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and keep campaigning until we reach an agreement on protecting West Lancashire from further floods.
“We must find a solution to protect residents, businesses and farmland, land that generates £230 million of income and provides 2,500 jobs and is a vital sector of our local economy.”