Flooding could get even worse if pumps are taken away, claims MP

Flooding could get even worse if pumps are taken away, claims MP

by Tom Martin (August 2020)

FIVE flood pumps that were due to be decommissioned in West Lancashire have received a stay of execution... for the time being.

Concerns have been raised that flooding in the borough could become even worse if the pumps’ are stopped.

The Champion reported last week how residents and farmers, particularly in the Burscough and Hesketh Bank areas, suffered misery after flash floods resulted in homes and crop fields being filled with water - a situation which keeps on happening whenever there is sustained heavy rainfall.

Lancashire County Council say prolonged heavy rainfall caused widespread surface water flooding due to the volume of water overwhelming local drainage systems. But it is feared that without the five pumps operating, the situation could be made a lot worse.

MP Rosie Cooper has raised concern over the future of the pumps in the Alt  Crossens  catchment, which serve and protect the West Lancashire area from flooding.  

The Environment Agency gave notice of its intention to cease operating these pumps back in 2015, but this notice has been extended pending resolution of legislative problems which prevent the formation of a local water management board. The latest extension runs until March 31, 2021.

MP Cooper, said: “We’ve seen again parts of West Lancashire and particularly Burscough flooding in recent weeks and that is even with the continued operation of the five flood pumps.  

“I and  many residents fear that should the notice for the Environment Agency to cease operation of these pumps be followed through, homes, businesses and agricultural farmland could all be subject to increased flooding.  

“I have received an interim update from the EA to say they will continue to operate the pumps until legislation  is passed allowing for the formation of a local water management  board, but  would then seek to transfer  ownership and operation to the newly formed body.  

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“I have written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs seeking a detailed update on the  flood pump situation here in West Lancashire and asking what progress has been made to bring through the required legislation. 

“Failure to address the future drainage and water management arrangements, will mean that when those pumps are turned off, agricultural land  and  residents’ homes  in the Alt Crossens  catchment area is at the mercy of the weather.  

“We can’t have food-producing land waterlogged again, more homes at risk and homes that have been flooded facing  increased risk and incidents. 

“There needs to be some progress.” 

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