St Austell & Newquay’s Liberal Democrat MP, Stephen Gilbert, has backed a joint campaign to see increased flood defence investment, a zero-tolerance policy of development in high-risk areas and proper planning to mitigate future flood risk.
The campaign was launched yesterday in the House of Commons by the Association of British Insurers with support from Friends of the Earth, Know Your Flood Risk, National Flood Forum, and the Property Care Association’s Flood Protection Group.
Data from the Environment Agency show that there are 1,356 residential properties in St Austell & Newquay which are at risk of flooding, and a further 987 non-residential properties. Since 2010, local flooding has devastated hundreds of homes and businesses in St Austell, St Blazey, Mevagissey, Pentewan, Polmassick and Fowey.
Stephen Gilbert has persistently raised the issue in Parliament and in meetings with Government Ministers. He successfully lobbied for millions of pounds of investment in local flood defence schemes; and pushed the Government to establish a new insurance guarantee for at-risk homes.
Commenting, Stephen said:
“We’ve seen the devastating effect that flooding can have on a home and a community here in Cornwall. I welcome the investment that the Government has made in local flood defences over the last four years, but it is clear that there are still far too many homes at risk.
“I am delighted to back this campaign to call for more funding, more rigid development policies and of proper planning by all to find a long term solution to manage the risk.”
Huw Evans, Deputy Director General at the Association of British Insurers, added:
“The need for this campaign to address the UK’s rising flood threat has never been more important. No action is not an option. Last winter’s floods highlighted the trauma and devastation flooding brings. How we manage our land and water has to become central to government decision making across the UK, whoever is in power.
“Without adequate long-term investment in flood defence protection that reflects the increasing threat, a zero tolerance towards building in flood risk areas and political agreement, too many communities will continue to live with the constant fear of flooding.”