MPs critical on flood and water funding

The cross party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (DEFRAC) has published a report on flood and water management.

They call for urgent action to deal with flooding and water supply.

The MPs say the government need to legislate to ensure that flood and water policies are implemented and they raise concerns about the cuts the Coalition have made to flood defence spending.

Committee chair, Anne McIntosh MP, said: “Urgent action is needed to ensure we all continue to have access to clean, reliable and affordable water supplies and that our communities are adequately and effectively protected from flooding.

“Legislation required to implement the Government’s full suite of flood and water management policies must be in place as soon as possible.”

The Committee says that it is not clear how the funding gap will be addressed and are concerned that communities will end up footing the bill.

The report calls on the government to spell out how flooding funding will be met particularly in the most vulnerable areas of the country and to ensure that there is adequate and stable funding for local authorities to respond to flood events.

Anne McIntosh said: “At a time of budgetary constraints councils must give flood protection work priority since many of them will need to increase the financial contribution they make to key local flood defense projects.”

The report also says a tighter regulatory framework for water management is needed and to protect customers.

The Committee wants clarification on how customers who have difficulty paying water bills will be helped.

It also wants to see a mechanism for bringing down bills for customers in areas where charges are high due to the need for capital investment for sewage systems.

They say that a strategy should be published to implement a wider programme of metering and variable tariffs designed with the customer at its heart.

Alison Brown

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