Steve Beasant

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Grimsby and Councillor for the East Marsh Learn more

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Greg Mulholland calls on ministers to admit “false economy” in cancelling flood defence schemes

by Steve Beasant on 6 January, 2016

blankIn the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland called on ministers to admit cancelling the Leeds flood defence scheme was “a false economy” and called for greater investment in Aire and Wharfe Valley flood protection.

Tuesday saw questions on flooding in the House of Commons, giving MPs the opportunity to question the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on the floods over the Christmas period.

Greg Mulholland, asked the Secretary of State “to admit that it was a false economy” to cancel the previous Leeds flood defence scheme, and to increase investmenton flood defences in the Leeds city region.

Greg Mulholland and other Leeds MPs have secured a meeting with the Secretary of State for DEFRA, and Mulholland is seeking a second meeting about flood defences in Lower Wharfedale, alongside MPs and respective councils.

PWC estimates the cost of the floods in northern England could be £1.5 billion, while KPMG estimate the cost of the floods across the UK could hit £5.8 billion.

Greg Mulholland also spoke on the local response to the floods, praising the “magnificent response from local volunteers who came out to help, and who have raised money as well.” He also paid tribute to the efforts of the emergency services and council workers in their response to the floods.

Greg Mulholland has tabled a parliamentary motion, EDM 914, calling the scrapping of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme “a mistake and false economy” and calling for “an urgent review of flood defences in Leeds city region and across Yorkshire”.

Commenting afterwards, Greg Mulholland:

“Seeing the damage done to homes, business and farms by the flooding was heartbreaking, particularly at Christmas time, but the response from local volunteers has been magnificent, showing a real sense of community in our town.”

“I have called on the Government to match fund local fundraising efforts, including the Wharfe Valley Flood appeal, to add to the money available from Leeds City Council for those affected.

“I welcome the Secretary of State’s agreement to meet with Leeds MPs and Leeds City Council regarding flood defences, as it is vital that Leeds is better prepared for serious floods like those we experienced over Christmas.

“We must now look to improving flood defences in Leeds and getting flood defences for Otley and Lower Wharfedale, to ensure this amount of damage does not happen again.

“We also now need serious discussions about how towns and villages in Lower Wharfedale, including Otley, can be better prepared for floods in the future and DEFRA, the Environment Agency and Leeds City Council must consider flood defences and flood alleviation measures.

“Residents, businesses and communities need to know that the response to the recent flooding must be swift and decisive and look at all ways to reduce the possibility of flooding and better protect and prepare our area in the future.”

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