We can't take risks with flooding

As far as I know only two properties - both pubs - flooded in Mid Worcestershire constituency in the recent dreadful weather. But the area hasnít always been so lucky - the memories of the serious floods in both 1998 and 2007 are etched into our minds. And there have been other local incidents too over the years that have also devastated the lives of families and the incomes of businesses.

This time, in Wychavon at least, it seems the flood defences and schemes that have been put in place are doing their job.

We canít be complacent though. Climate change is real and the British weather is becoming more extreme. This is something we must take account of as we plan for the new houses we so urgently need to make sure local people have decent homes.

Dredging on natural rivers like the Severn and Avon is not the answer. Dredging on these rivers was always for navigation purposes and unless we are happy to run these rivers half empty when itís not raining, they would have no spare capacity when it is.

But we do need to stop building on flood plains and to create natural ways to keep water in places where it does no damage when floods threaten.

My objection to building on flood plains or in areas that could increase flooding elsewhere is long-standing. Thatís why I strongly opposed plans for development in the Webheath area in Redditch. Residents in Saleway are justifiably concerned about the impact of this large development on their village, which is downstream on the Bow Brook.

Councils and planning inspectors should be obliged to take the advice of the Environment Agency when they say there is a risk of flooding as a result of particular development plans.

Yes, this will make the lives of the planners a little more difficult, but we canít take risks with flooding.


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