Cumbria shouldn’t be forgotten

Date: Tuesday 4th July 2017

THE Environment Agency’s drop-in sessions at Appleby and Keswick this week have provided a good opportunity for people affected by the floods of 18 months ago to give feedback on the lengthy list of options put forward with the aim of avoiding any repeat of the scenes of devastation caused by Storm Desmond.

Many lives were severely disrupted in the Cumbria floods, properties ruined and businesses damaged. There has been understandable frustration among the communities which were worst hit that there has been too much talking and not enough action on the ground.

However, the Environment Agency is at least adopting an approach that embraces those people who were most affected. The initial proposals contained in what has become a very long list of proposed defence systems might not be in line with their wishes, but at least they are being given the chance to have their say and not have solutions foisted on them.

It is important that the process does not drag on too long, though. There is likely to be further consultation on a shortlist of options in the autumn, just when the chances of persistent, heavy rainfall are increasing.

There seems little likelihood of major schemes being in place before the onset of winter as, even if the preferred options had unanimous backing within the respective communities, the Government will have to be convinced that they provide value for money.

Theresa May’s regime has lots of other issues to contend with at the moment, of course, but the protection of Cumbria’s vulnerable communities from flooding should not be forgotten.