WEST Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has hosted a meeting with the Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard and affected residents to discuss flooding in the constituency and how defence can be improved.
In light of the continuing flooding issues and flood risk faced by residents, businesses and farmers across West Lancashire, Ms Cooper took the opportunity to invite the Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to come and speak with residents about the Shadow Team’s campaigns and priorities right now, how they can support places like West Lancashire in securing improvements – and how future governments could better deal with the current issues that they face.
One of the key problems is the government’s decision to cut funding to the Environment Agency, the body tasked with managing the flood pumps in operation to protect West Lancashire from further flooding. This funding cut has led to the EA serving notice that they will cease to operate these pumps beyond March 2021.
In attendance at the meeting were residents who have experienced flooding, resident flood action group representatives and farmers.
Ms Cooper said: “This was a great opportunity for residents in West Lancashire to really be able to speak directly to the front bench in Parliament and explain the difficulties they face in dealing with flooding issues here.
“I am grateful to Mr Pollard for taking the time to meet with my West Lancashire constituents and discussing their issues, and committing to follow up on many of the concerns raised.
“Residents were able to put to him in the meeting, questions about investment in the drainage system, holding the Environment Agency to account for their ditch maintenance work to ensure farmers’ fields aren’t flooded and the future arrangements for an Internal Drainage Board or Water Level Management Board.
“With so many questions wishing to be asked, I will be following up with him, but also with relevant agencies including Lancashire County Council, Untied Utilities, the Environment Agency and Government to ensure every question is fully answered.”
Mr Pollard added: “There are a number of different causes of flooding and dealing with each of the bodies responsible can be hard work, so we need to see a much better joined-up approach and partnership working.
“I look forward to working with Ms Cooper to seek the best outcome for West Lancashire in the Environment Bill, which will enable local Water Level Management Boards to be set up.”