Following Lancashire County Council’s long-awaited publication of the Hurlston Brook (Ormskirk) Flood Report, often referred to as the Jacobs Report, residents were disappointed to hear that no improvements were being considered despite the clear identification of flood risk in the area.
In correspondence to Rosie Cooper MP, LCC stated that officers have not approached the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Environment Agency (EA) or any other agencies to request funding for any projects.
They further stated that there are no identifiable projects within the current treasury rules for awarding funding.
MP Rosie wrote directly to DEFRA, who confirmed there was a maximum of £1.3m available to bid for through their Flood Defence Grant in Aid (FDGiA) money.
Although the outcome of the Jacobs Report is that it would cost £9.7m to carry out all recommendations, Rosie is keen, where possible, for any elements of the recommendations to be progressed now while keeping an eye on any future grants that LCC could make financial bids for.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“All the County Council have told us is that the recommendations are too expensive to carry out, but very little about how they have made any progress in two years.
“Taxpayers’ money was used to fund this very high level and detailed report, to which the immediate reaction suggests it was all a waste of time and money if no one is going to do anything to improve matters.
“Having written to DEFRA to ask what they plan to do now to protect my constituents from the threat of further flooding, Minister Therese Coffey confirmed to me that there is up to £1.3m that LCC could bid for.
“This of course isn’t the £9.7m needed to fix every single issue, but I ask the County to look at the recommendations and see what relief they can apply for to begin the process of having some sustainable flood defences.
“At the same time as being told there’s no investment planned in flood defence for Ormskirk, we read about a £40m flood risk management scheme for Preston and South Ribble involving LCC, EA and partners with surveys underway!
“When I asked the Environment Secretary about this during Parliamentary Questions, she pointed to partnership working elsewhere that has accessed similar funding, which seems to be where LCC need to focus.
“I will continue to lobby LCC, DEFRA and relevant agencies to consider any and all approaches available to protect my constituents, many who have already had their lives devastated through flooding in 2012 or 2015.”