Yesterday we debated the Flood and Water Management Bill. This is meant to be the government’s answer to the 2007 floods and the subsequent review.
The debate was surprisingly thinly attended, considering the number of places in the UK now prone to flood attack. That gave me plenty of opportunity to make the case for Wokingham.
I concentrated on two big issues. The first is where the water company fails to prevent sewage rising out of the dirty water system and mixing with flood water, greatly worsening the damage to homes. The Minister eventually assured me that Section 94 of the Water Industry Act still gives us sufficient power to insist on repairs and improvements to prevent this happening, along with the public health legislation. I will have another go at getting the government to help us by using this legislation.
The second is where local rivers create the flood. I urged with my colleagues imposing a duty on the Environment Agency to keep the water courses clear of debris so the rivers can flow quickly when there is heavy rain. The Minister again assured us they already have to do that. I will return to the charge with the EA armed with the Minister’s assurances.