FLAG Press Release re: Rain to blame? U stands for Umbrella as Bridgwater MP makes u-turn on cause of flooding

Release date: 10/21/2014


Above. Mr Liddell Grainger during the floods blamed lack of maintenance, now rain is taking the blame. Photo © Matilda Temperley 2014

Previously Mr Liddell Grainger has vehemently supported Flooding on the Levels Action Group’s (FLAG) stance that the prolonged flooding of the Levels was due to a lack of maintenance of the rivers and waterways by the Environment Agency.  In an address to Parliament on January 22nd 2014 Mr Liddell Grainger stated: “The Environment Agency has failed us once again….Get the rivers dredged and give us hope.”
This is direct contrast with Saturday’s article.  He is now claiming that the sole cause of the flooding was rain.  When refuting claims that a public enquiry was necessary he says, “I cannot support a process which would involve millions of pounds of time and effort and in all probability conclude that the only cause of the flooding was the stuff which you will readily identify if you step outside and turn your face to the clouds this very morning.”  
FLAG does not believe a public enquiry into the cause of the flooding is necessary.  The cause of the flooding is obvious; prolonged rain exacerbated by the lack of maintenance, which caused flooding to occur on an unprecedented scale.  The Chartered Institution for Water and Environmental Management commissioned a report in February 2014 and stated that “it is highly likely that dredging the Parrett and Tone prior to the January 2014 floods would have led to a reduction in the flood duration experienced.”  There is no shortage of experts who agree that management by the EA and the lack of dredging is at fault.  A public enquiry into the failings of the authorities in the aftermath of the flood would be far more useful.
What FLAG is really concerned about is Mr Liddell Grainger’s very public U-turn of the cause.  Funding needs to be secured for future maintenance and management of the rivers and waterways and without the backing of our local MP the future of the Somerset Levels looks very unsure.  

If the Levels are not protected then there is a real risk of flooding to the towns of Bridgwater and Taunton.


Notes to Editors:

1. FLAG Somerset - Flooding on the Levels Action Group. Please find out more by visiting http://www.flagsomerset.org.uk or join our Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/FLAGsomerset

2. Follow us on twitter @dredgetherivers

3. For more information or to contact us please email pressofficer@flagsomerset.org.uk