Green Party’s Adrian Ramsay calls for ban on building houses on flood plains
With many communities in Norfolk and Suffolk still reeling from the recent floods, the Government has been called on to tackle the root of the problem in order to prevent similar scenes in the future.
Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay called for building on flood plains to be banned in response to a new report from the National Audit Office, highlighting that the Environment Agency has cut its forecast of the number of properties it will be able to protect by 2027, from 336,000 to 200,000.
The agency is having to axe 500 of the 2,000 new flood defence projects that were originally planned, as it faces a shortfall of £34 million in the maintenance budget.
Mr Ramsay, who is set to contest the Waveney Valley seat at the next general election, said: “Prevention is better than cure, as the thousands of people recently flooded in Suffolk and Norfolk will testify.
“The promise of record funding is still less than needed to cope with the extreme weather we are now seeing. So more imaginative thinking in the way we prevent floods, is needed.
“There is a big shortfall in the Environment Agency’s targets, with more than 100,000 people living in the most vulnerable areas being told that they are not a priority.
“The false economy of skimping on maintenance means that another 200,000 people have to keep their fingers crossed that their existing flood defences don’t collapse.
“The Government should allow people in vulnerable areas to apply for small grants to protect their businesses and households before a flood hits, rather than only making these available after the event.”
Areas including Framlingham, Attleborough, Long Stratton and Debenham have all suffered from flooding in recent years, with Mr Ramsay keen to see more done to avoid a repeat in future years.
The Norfolk native added: “Rather than constantly reaching for expensive new grand engineering projects, there also needs to be a greater emphasis on creating far cheaper natural flood defences.
“We need to create natural dams to allow rivers to hold more water upstream of properties, and restore natural bends in rivers. We also need to look again at planning regulations which, unbelievably, still allow for new buildings on flood plains.
“Ultimately, we need to deal with the root of the problem, which is to tackle the emissions responsible for heating our planet.
“The Government needs to show leadership at the forthcoming COP28 climate talks by demonstrating a strong commitment to ending the use of fossil fuels, ramping up renewable energy and insulating homes.”