MP: Flooding just as bad as in Somerset

Mark Spencer MP.
Mark Spencer MP.

Somerset residents were inundated with flooding earlier this year but Mr Spencer said the number of houses affected in his constituency was probably greater.

The MP said if there were a repeat of the same disastrous weather conditions in future, water needed to be removed from the village much quicker and its rapid progress down into the town had to be slowed.

“If we could keep that water up-stream we could negate the effect it has,” he said. “But it will require co-operation from every agency and landowners to get these measures put in place.

“My experience is that with flooding issues you can have the district council in charge of one bit, highways in charge of the road and the water authority has responsibility for its part.

“But they all seem to pass the buck between each other and blame it on the other authority.

“I used a Private Member’s Bill last year to make the county council the lead authority to hold somebody to account.

“Some progress is being made but it is just one person in charge.”

Mr Spencer said more needed to be done by the government to see sustainable urban drainage schemes put in place to help those downstream.

He added: “The other problem is farm owners digging ditches to speed water up, when work needs to be down to slow it down in towns further downstream.

“There needs to be some compensation for farmers who show some constraint to reimburse them for a smaller crop - that would be far cheaper than the cost of reimbursing householders after a flood.”

Mr Spencer said the recent by-election in Newark meant every cabinet minister had now visited the area and the problem was more visible.

He added: “I made sure as many of them as possible could see the problems we are facing. Hopefully in the future we will see the assistance we should have had a long time ago.”

“I will be putting a lot more pressure on ministers now to try and get a sympathetic ear.”

Andy Wallace, Nottinghamshire County Council’s flood risk manager, said: “The study and modelling into last summer’s floods in Southwell are coming along well.

“We have been working with local people, including the Southwell Flood Forum and other agencies such as Severn Trent, to ensure we have gathered all the information needed to make sure we get the right scheme – and that we get it right first time.

“In the meantime the county council has submitted a bid to the Government for funding towards the scheme.

“The government will consider all the bids it has received from around the country in November and we believe we have a strong case and good chance of receiving the funding.”