Just wanted to let you know what is being done re future flood management. I am a member of the Cumbria Floods Partnership which is chaired by The floods minister Rory Stewart. I attended a meeting last week.
DEFRA and the EA are working together, this is the plan to date:-
Three catchments directors have been appointed, there is a new strategy, the whole of the Derwent Catchment is to be studied, we are basically a case study for future flood mitigation plans for the rest of the country. An integrated catchment approach is to be adopted, in other words agencies will work together to look for solutions, those agencies include Natural England, Forestry Commission, National Trust, National Parks etc.
The Programme board Project team is jointly led by the EA/DEfRA, beneath this are the three catchment directors, each director has an area of responsibility, those areas being Maintenance of flood defences, Internal Drainage Boards, Water Management, gravel management, Defences and Resistance. All sources of flooding will be looked at including surface and ground water. United Utilities are part of the partnership, I asked them what their role is as they have not considered flood management as part of their role previously. They said they would be looking at all their assets with a view to flood management.
This initial plan is an information gathering exercise which the partnership believes will take 6 months. Natural England and the forestry commission have already begun to look at plans for upland management, e.g tree planting, bogs, surface soil, I will be attending their meeting on Tuesday.
The NFU are working with the farmers and have begun discussions, so far gravel management and management of river banks is high on the list. The general consensus is that Farmers want to be part of the solution.
The Environment Agency is responsible for the rivers, United Utilities the reservoirs and highways for drainage.
I think what has happen to date Is positive, it’s promising that there is a multi agency approach and a real will to make a difference. It’s not going to happen as quick as we would like which is frustrating however we have never had this approach before so that’s promising, the solutions are not simple so a good understanding is needed so that our community can get the protection it needs. The community voice is being listened to and acknowledged. I think we will have a fight on our hands in the future as we may not qualify for much finance when competing with the larger, more densely populated areas, when we know what it is we have to fight for then CFAG will need as much support as possible. In the meantime I will continue to make sure our voice is heard through the media and other sources.
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