The regular excuses for local flooding from any local council public official, paid from our council taxes, include climate change. And sure enough, there it is, in the WLBC press release published by Roger Blaxall at QLocal.
Well, defeatist officials need to stop hiding behind climate change and take real, local, action on floods. Taxpayers rightly take an old-fashioned view of the responsibility of officials to deal with whatever the weather throws at them and keep them safe.
The press release “Across the borough of West Lancashire flooding has increased in recent years for a variety of reasons including climate change. The most notable floods resulted from record-breaking rainfall associated with Storm Desmond in December 2015; further heavy rainfall and severe flooding occurred over Christmas 2015 as a result of Storm Eva.
“Consequently, this Council chose to set up a Flooding and Drainage Cabinet Working Group for councillors to look into issues of flood risk and drainage in more detail.
“Its functions are:
a)To consider how a wider, more co-ordinated approach to managing flooding and drainage across the whole Borough could be achieved.
b)To liaise with the Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority, United Utilities, neighbouring Local Authorities, and any other relevant bodies on the issues of flooding and drainage.
c)To investigate any opportunities for relevant funding from appropriate bodies.
d)To give consideration to all the issues and options associated with the establishment of an internal drainage board.
e)To report back to the relevant Portfolio Holder and Cabinet and, where appropriate future meetings of Full Council with its findings and recommendations.
“The purpose of a Cabinet Working Group is to explore a particular issue or proposal and then make recommendations to the Council Leader and Cabinet when they are making decisions related to that issue or proposal.
“Council Officers arrange the meetings and are available during the meetings to provide information if required, but they do not form part of the Working Group. Minutes are produced but they are not published so that councillors are given the appropriate space to consider sensitive issues fully and frankly in confidence; this system was introduced by the Local Government Act 2000.
Freely available details regarding the Group can be found on the Council’s website here: https://democracy.westlancs.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=353
“Since Wednesday 7th October, the Group’s met four times and received briefings, reports and presentations from the Council’s Principal Engineer, Newground, the consultant that manages ‘The Flood Hub’ website, the Environment Agency and the ADA (Association of Drainage Authorities).
“Future meetings will discuss Emergency Planning, Planning Policy, Development Management and sustainable drainage systems (SuDS). Invitations will also be sent to the Lead Local Flood Authority and Flood Action Groups meaning the Burscough Flood Action Group, along with other local flood groups, will be invited to discuss their experiences and issues.
“It should also be noted that Lancashire County Council are the lead Flood Authority appointed by the Government”.
Now think back to January 2016, Rosie Cooper, “Time for answers and time for action” and her compelling statement “We simply cannot have a stalemate where each agency, council and the Government point fingers at each other because they themselves don’t have to endure the human misery and personal cost of homes, of businesses being flooded and produce lost as farmer’s fields are under water”.
Over five years ago, and what do we have today? Meetings, bloody meetings, talking shops! At what cost?