Jump to content

Floods Act 2008


Division! Clear the Lobbies  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. To pass the bill

    • Aye
    • No
    • Absent
    • Abstain

This poll is closed to new votes

Recommended Posts

Mr Speaker,

I rise in the House today to introduce the Flood Act which will ensure that the government response to the floods is set out in a full, statutory footing by ensuring that both a national and local flood strategy is created for the parts of the country which are, unfortunately, prone to flooding. This piece of legislation will bring about greater cooperation between all authorities and relevant bodies which will ensure a more coherent flood response when it is needed.

Furthermore, the legislation also sets on a statutory footing a National Capability for Flood Response which will ensure that - when needed - we have the tools and resilience to tackle any flood threat head on. 

I ask this bill be read a second time.

Flood Act 2008 (1).pdf

The Rt Honourable Nicholas Colton MP

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service

Member of Parliament for South West Surrey



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Speaker, 

I thank the Prime Minister for putting this legislation before the House. 

The legislation requires necessary but nonetheless bureaucratic requirements are being placed on the Environment Agency and Local Flood Authorities. What support will the government be providing to these bodies to ensure they would meet these statutory legislative obligations? 

Ruth Murphy.

Labour Member of Parliament for Liverpool Walton (1974-).

Opposition Whip (1982-).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of my favourite songs as a child was “Is that all there is?” by Peggy Lee.

The reason why I mention this song is because that was the phrase that came to mind when I read the submitted Floods Bill.

Because, really, there’s nothing much in tis bill at all beyond a few funding mechanisms and directives for local authorities to mitigate flood risks. 

Is this something?

Sure. I guess.

But could we do more? Especially when we live in an age when the British public are clamouring for its political class to do something -- anything -- at all that shows backbone, that we are indeed looking out for them.

Now, I know that flood mitigation is not something that commands the attention of the public like sabre rattling with Iran. Unless you’ve been plucked from a roof or found a family photo album in soggy ruins in the basement, flood risk management is not something that drives headlines.

But that is exactly why this bill is nothing more than a milquetoast blather of words. It’s the actions of a government that is doing something just to tell the public it did something... as opposed to doing something that will actually make a difference for the public.

This government had an opportunity to make a transformative change for this country for the better by seeing that this was not just the case of heavy rains and some damage to some properties.

But, instead, we were just handed a bunch of words highly reminiscent of when I was still a professor and a lazy student turned in a hastily crafted paper done to meet a word count and nothing more.

This is a government that lacks imagination.

But we, in Labour, know that this flood represents many issues -- truly important issues -- that we must tackle in this country.

First, we’ve seen Northern Rock collapse. We’ve seen banks around the world veer to the edge. We’ve seen the trickling effect throughout the global economy, which is at a perilous precipice. 

And what is the cause of this? We can talk about the technical reasons -- bets on mortgages, too much leverage, etc. 

Or we can talk about the real reason.

And that’s how corporate executives at large financial institutions placed the chase for profits and the value of their stock holdings far ahead of what that means for the regular person who works hard and does things the right way. 

And guess what insurers are? They’re large financial institutions. We know of the one instance where the CEO of one company ran off with customer assets. But, even though this government denies this occurred, the insurance companies in this country failed its customers. 

Along the way, some C-Suite executives made the decisions to trim the fat so no one can get someone on the phone in a timely manner. Someone made the decision to tell people that their claims would be denied. Someone made the decision to do their best to hold onto the money contractually owed to regular people who saw their lives ruined in order to put revenue and profits and stock valuations above doing what they were supposed to do. 

Does this bill address any of these issues?

No. It doesn’t. And, right now, because of this, the insurance industry is hard at work raising premiums on property owners.

We in Labour have already introduced several ideas about ways to help people who need immediate financial assistance when a storm comes, as well as ways to make flood insurance more affordable -- and while also providing more oversight over an industry that failed to appreciate just how important it is to the lives of regular people.

And these floods also reflect what is looming as the most important issue of our time -- climate change.

It’s clear that climate change is real. We will see temperatures rise. We will see ocean levels rise. We will see increased storms. We will see storms with even greater ferocity than those we have ever felt before.

Now, storms and floods of the magnitude we just witnessed present an opportunity for us to really start to get to work in understanding what it will take to live in this reality and to take the steps to try and stave off the horrors of climate change.

An imaginative government would do more than just put together some words to move money from one agency to another and some rote words about building planning.

An imaginative government could have unveiled a new commitment to discussing using reclaimed wetlands to reduce flooding, or the construction of seawalls, or better homebuilding clustering strategies to reduce flooding.

And an imaginative government would use these floods as an opportunity to talk about what it will do to reduce our country’s contribution to carbon change -- what it will do to shift our energy usage from those powered by fossil fuels to renewable fuel sources, how we will reduce the amount of petrol burning vehicles on our roads, and how we will help our friends across the globe do the same.

I asked this government just a few weeks ago if they believed climate change was real.

I was met with a yawn.

A literal yawn.

Do you know who else yawns?

The lazy students who turn in their drivel at the last second. 

Because that’s what this government truly is -- lazy, lacking imagination, and failing to see the bigger picture as it’s being painted in front of them.

And this is why the public is asking right now... Is that all there is?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, Grace Saunders said:

Mr. Speaker, 

I thank the Prime Minister for putting this legislation before the House. 

The legislation requires necessary but nonetheless bureaucratic requirements are being placed on the Environment Agency and Local Flood Authorities. What support will the government be providing to these bodies to ensure they would meet these statutory legislative obligations? 


Mr Speaker

Of course, given the seriousness and gravity of the situation the government will be providing all of the support it can, including giving power to the Environment Agency to make grants for the implementation of the strategies developed under this act and of course through the use of our National Capability fund. 

The Rt Honourable Nicholas Colton MP

Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service

Member of Parliament for South West Surrey



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Speaker,

An answer to the flooding crisis in this country is something I have been pushing for months - Labour releasing its own Flood Strategy around the time of the height of the crisis - and I am now glad to see the Government finally bring legislation before the House to address this flooding epidemic.

I have said before, but it is flattering to see the Tory Government borrow much of the plans we proposed in our Labour Flood Strategy - a true victory for this Opposition in pushing this Government to do its job, and in some cases with this legislation do it for them.

Mr. Speaker, the support, funding and powers given to the Environmental Agency to develop a flood management plan are welcomed by this side of the House - again as suggested in our Flood Strategy. I do have an issue with Section 2 of the National Flood Strategy, in that it leaves out one of the nations that makes up our United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, who were also heavily affected by flooding at the start of last year. Therefore I would like to propose an amendment to this Bill:


“ 2. The Environment Agency must consult the general public as well as the other English risk management authorities, and the Northern Irish Executive, Scottish Executive and Welsh Ministers where their territory may be affected, in drawing up the strategy”

It is important that we address this issue across the United Kingdom, and work together with all parts that form our great nation, to ensure we have an efficient national strategy.

Once again it is good to see Labour’s Flood Strategy influence this Government bill, and we welcome the sections of this legislation that will require local authorities and services to have more effective flood strategies and risk management, as well as seeing local authorities and services working together to manage future flooding. Furthermore this frontbench is glad to see the Government taking the Labour idea of local authorities taking strategies to ensure new buildings are protected from floods and to be flood resistant.

Finally, as Labour also supported, a review into flood response to help us learn from the events, and what can be done to reduce damage and harm from flooding in the future, as well as what can be done to prevent future flooding. Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister promised there would be a commission established to investigate the same issue, can he now update the House on the status of this Commission?

I would also like to take this time to ask the Prime Minister, why did he find it unnecessary to launch a cross-party Parliamentary committee into flooding, that could have seen a strategy formulated by parties across this House to deliver the best for the future of flooding in Britain, and the people it would affect? Did he want to take all the glory himself?

Mr. Speaker, I will say the Government has not taken on all of the plans of Labour’s Flood Strategy. This legislation lacks a solid promise of investment into building Britain's flood defences to be at their best and in line with expert advice. Labour pledged £1billion per year to ensure this would happen, I see nothing in this legislation to suggest that the Government will do the same. We need a flood defence budget Mr. Speaker, and I hope the Government will either amend this legislation to include a guarantee of investment or we will see so in the Budget.

Secondly Mr. Speaker, I have stressed many times the need for a support fund, which will see money set aside at each Budget to help local areas rebuild from flood damage. As I previously stated in response to the Government’s report on the flood crisis, the total lack of a support fund to help local areas and people affected rebuild from flood damages, potentially leaving those uninsured left with nothing and communities destroyed, with no hope of rebuilding their lives. I’m not sure if this is what the vaguely worded “National Capability fund” will be, but again I hope the Government will either amend this legislation to include a guarantee of a support fund for those uninsured or in need of aid to rebuild their lives post-flooding, or we will see so in the Budget.

I feel this legislation could have went further in empowering local emergency services and armed forces in allowing them to take charge in rapid response to flooding, giving them powers to act quickly without waiting on Government go aheads. Will the Government amend this legislation to do so?

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot to commend in this Bill, however as stated I believe it could have went further. I hope the Government will seriously consider the amendments I have put forward to include Northern Ireland in consultations, a guaranteed investment in flood defences, and a flood support fund.

I will finish by saying, we on the Labour benches are totally flattered that the Government has listened to our Flood Strategy, and adopted so many of our ideas. Hopefully the party opposite will listen to us more in the future Mr. Speaker.



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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Ayes to the Right: 398
The Noes to the Left: 246

The Ayes have it

Con - 333/0
Labour - 16/222
Lib Dems - 34/0
SNP - 0/7
Plaid - 0/6
SDLP = 0/5
UUP - 5/0
PA - 4/0
Respect - 3/0
BNP - 2/0
TUV - 2/0
DUP - 1/0
Grn - 1/0
All - 1/0
Ind - 1/0

Arnold J. Appleby

MP for North Bedfordshire (1979-Present)
Shadow Foreign Secretary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...