Cameron vows to tackle Somerset flooding

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David Cameron has had to clear up some comments he made concerning the cost of flood prevention in Somerset.

The Prime Minister had previously made a ‘money no object’ pledge in terms of sorting out the flood issues within the county earlier this year, but has now retracted his statement, saying that his pledge had only been for the time and not future troubles.

“What I said about ‘money no object’ was in the crisis phase: That money was no object, that you should spend what is necessary to protect homes and to help people and that is exactly what happened,” Mr Cameron said on a visit to Dyson last month.

According to John Osman, leader of Somerset County Council, the county needs a £2.65 million ‘bridging’ grant in order to kick-start the first year of the twenty year Flood Action Plan, which involves investing in flood management and infrastructure solutions.

Mr Osman recently wrote to Liz Truss, secretary for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and local government minister Eric Pickles, asking for a new Somerset Rivers Authority to have precept-raising powers to the fund this plan thereafter.

This idea has gained support from the Prime Minister, who said, “We’re absolutely committed to the flood defences that we said would go ahead.”

“In terms of the new proposal for the new Somerset Rivers Authority, we have put £20 million into Somerset to help with the start-up costs, and we look forward to making further progress with this excellent proposal and excellent plan,” Mr Cameron added.

Earlier in November Labour’s shadow environment secretary Maria Eagle MP raised concerns over preparations for this upcoming winter in Somerset, with the party saying that the chance of a catastrophic flood occurring in England within the next twenty years is around ten per cent. This would cost in excess of £10 billion in damage.

Maria Eagle argued, ““There is no doubt that flood risk management has gone backwards under this Tory-led government.
“Ignoring the evidence on climate change has led to the government making the wrong choices. It has taken a short-term approach when a long-term one is needed. We know that David Cameron’s climate failure will put an extra 80,000 properties at risk from flooding in the next Parliament.

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Ramiye Thavabalasingam is a former News & Comment Editor at bathimpact (2014/15). She writes about a number of University of Bath issues, as well as local Bath politics.

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