MATT WARMAN MP
Wainfleet flooding public meeting report
4th July 2019, Coronation Hall, Wainfleet
Panel – Matt Warman MP, Norman Robinson (Deputy Director, Lincs Environment Agency), Shaun West (Local Resilience Forum), Cllr Eddy Poll (Lincolnshire County Council & Chairman of Anglian Northern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee), Andy McGill (Chief Executive, Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board) Cllr Craig Leyland (Leader, East Lindsey District Council)
Other organisations represented – Anglian Water, National Farmers Union, Association of British Insurers, local Town and Parish Councils
Matt Warman MP opened the meeting thanking agencies and especially the local community for their hard work and resilience in very difficult circumstances. He apologised for the situation the residents found themselves in, saying it is ultimately the role of Government to protect people from events such as this occurring. Matt explained the purpose of the meeting was not to defend any particular agency or body but to get answers to the questions the community wants to ask, in order to plan lasting improvements.
While huge amounts of rain in a very short space of time was the single major cause of this flooding, it is clear that a new system is needed to protect the area in the future. Matt Warman outlined his recent meeting with Environment Secretary the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, in which he made the case for the Wainfleet area being a pathfinder for flood resilience. Matt said he wants the area to benefit from a wide-ranging package of measures that prevents further flooding and improves resilience, and will continue to push for this at the highest possible levels.
The panel introduced themselves and their roles. Also outlined was the Lincolnshire County Council investigation into the flooding, legally required under Section 19 of the Flood and Water Management Act (2010). This will be carried out by an external authority and will consider the role that all organisations, including the Environment Agency, took in response to the flooding.
The meeting was then opened to questions from the floor. There was a wide ranging and passionate discussion touching on the following issues:
- Dredging, desilting, reed cutting and ongoing maintenance, which many in the audience felt was lacking. The panel all observed that improving it would not be sufficient in isolation to create a system for the future needs of the area;
- Badgers and other burrowing animals in river banks and the precedence of wildlife/habitat protection over flood protection for homes and businesses;
- Managing the flow of water from upland areas to create a system that works;
- Compensation for farmland/flood recovery fund;
- Creation of more resilient homes as part of the repair and recovery phase to allow people to ‘Build back better’;
- Flood warnings – some householders were not notified in a timely way/at all;
- The emergency response and time taken to deploy some assets e.g. pumps, chinooks;
- Lowland areas payment of drainage rates to transport upland water – extension of drainage rates to whole country/additional areas;
- Prioritisation of flooded areas for available resources e.g. sandbags;
- How central government will be assisting those affected by the flooding, either directly or via the local council.
It was agreed that a follow up meeting would be held to share thoughts around actions to be taken to create the future resilience plan and get input from the community – date tbc. Matt encouraged any residents who need assistance to contact either his office or the flood response team at East Lindsey District Council.