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Patrick SP: Labour Flood Strategy

Sir Grant Kingston

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Labour MP for Sedgefield and Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare, Sophie Patrick, today went to Leatherhead - the site of some of the recent worst flooding after Cyclone Dirk. Here she visited some local sites that were heavily affected by the flooding, as well as talking with residents about the major incident. Ms. Patrick also took the time to announce Labour’s new Flood Strategy.



“Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen!

I want to thank you all for welcoming me here to Leatherhead! Unfortunately it is a very sad time to visit, and I send my condolences to you all for the losses and hard times you have suffered during the recent floods. It has been very hard to witness the horror, havoc and destruction that the recent floods have caused to your home. It has been very insightful speaking to many of you, and getting a view into the effects flooding has had on you, your families, your property, and your day to day lives post-flood. I must say it is truly heartbreaking the devastation and disruption that I have witnessed today. 

The Labour Party this past year has realised that more must be done to combat flooding in the United Kingdom. This past year we saw some of the most extreme wet weather in the UK during the Summer, with May to July being the wettest since records began. Flooding occurred right across our nation, leading to the Environmental Agency deeming the floods to be at a critical level, and the Fire Brigade Union describing the rescue effort as the biggest in peacetime Britain. Estimates of damages in the Summer alone were thought to be around £3billion.

Now, at the end of the year, at a time we usually look forward to the most with the Christmas period on the horizon, and a new year before us - our country has been struck by devastating flooding once again. Cyclone Dirk hit Southern England, and we saw the Rivers Mole and Wey burst, tearing through local areas - like here in Leatherhead - and leaving 100,000 people without power. Major incidents were declared here, Dorking, and in Guildford.

Floods this year have seen disruption to everyday life, people left trapped, without electricity and in some cases drinking water, destruction of property, injuries and unfortunately death. We cannot let this continue. We need a proper and effective strategy towards flooding in England. With climate change becoming a bigger threat to our modern world and way of life, severe weather like this will become a more common sight in our country. Today, the Labour Party is releasing its policy on what we believe the strategy to tackle flooding should be. Labour calls upon the Government to work with us to enact this policy now. It is with great pleasure that I can present this to you all, and the country, today. I do so in the hope that we can make progress in Parliament to provide a more sound strategy that protects you, your family, and your property from flooding in the future.

Our policy ladies and gentlemen is simply - invest, support, protect.

Firstly we want to invest £1billion every year directly into improving flood defences throughout England to ensure our flood defences are at their best and in line with top expert advice. Labour wants to provide the best defence for you.

Secondly we want to create a support fund that will set money aside to help local areas - like Leatherhead - rebuild from damage caused by flooding. We will rebuild and we will restore areas affected by these floods. 

Labour believes it is important to ensure the Environmental Agency is properly funded, has the right resources, and is supported to carry out its duties when it comes to flooding. We must work with the EA to develop plans to properly manage flooding.

We cannot underestimate the importance of working with our local authorities and services, in conjunction with the EA, to ensure each region has proper strategies in place to combat flooding, and strengthen flood protection with forward thinking and efficient land management and planning rules. We must empower local emergency services now to allow them to take charge in rapid responses to flooding, to keep damage and casualties at bay.

Labour believes that there must be an independent review commissioned to review the flood response this year. This will help us learn from these events and allow us to be better prepared in the future to reduce damage and harm caused by flooding, and what we can do to prevent future floods. Furthermore we believe that a commission must be established to investigate the future impact of flooding, as well as the effect climate change will have in the UK to allow us to futureproof and combat adverse weather and climate change effects in the future. On the international stage, we must start to work together more seriously with other countries to achieve this goal of combating climate change.

This policy from Labour is simple as I said - invest, support, protect. We want to see investment that will protect you from future floods, support you in the event of a future flood, and to combat the effects of climate change we face. Labour believes this policy will do just that, and we believe that this policy is what we need in England to finally take flooding seriously. The UK needs a proper strategy to flooding - and Labour will provide one to invest, support, and protect your community!

Thank you!"



Copy of the Flood Strategy: Flood Strategy.pdf or https://docs.google.com/document/d/12UVA8bitfncGXXsGNNvBfpgaozc51vGnMQ8UobPFPGw/edit



Deputy Leader of the Labour Party

Shadow Home Secretary


Former Roles:

Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare (December 2007-January 2008)




Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare: Dianne Abbot MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Infrastructure, and the Environment: Barry Gardiner MP

Minister for Northern Ireland: David Anderson MP

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