I fully support the chair of the Committee for Public Accounts, who recently expressed her deep concerns that current levels of spending are not enough to maintain flood protection for the five million homes at risk of flooding.
It is obvious that this Conservative government has not got a strategic plan for the long term as they have cut spending on flood protection by 10 per cent between 2011-12 and 2014-15. This must locally give us grave concerns of whether they are going to fully fund the flood barrier for Boston and ensure the banks of the Haven are at an adequate height.
I note that Boston Conservatives are not offering any money towards the flood barrier.
This was also commented on within the Committee for Public Accounts report about inconsistencies in flood plans and strategies from local authorities.
Taking away sandbags and sirens without talking to local people and not providing direct assistance in the form of emergency payments within the first few days of floods is a poor example being shown by our local authority. Our local Tories will tell you that we don’t need sandbags or sirens.
I have spoken to scores of other local authorities who do provide sandbags – so yet again Boston is out of step with the rest of the councils across the country.
Some other councils still also provide sirens, and give emergency payments – but not Boston!
I am aware it is nearly a year since almost 800 homes were so dramatically flooded.
It was prevented from becoming a lot worse by our uniformed services who worked tirelessly to support our local communities.
Whilst the barrier is being built to the correct height to protect the centre of the town, my concern is – the level of the defences further along the Haven.
Let’s make sure Boston gets what it needs – a barrier with the right height of protection for the next 200 years, fully funded by the next government; and local authorities providing sandbags and sirens to give us a truly integrated strategy for Boston which will provide all the necessary precautions and resources to fully protect our town. I believe we could have done better and I will continue to campaign for our local authority to provide sandbags, sirens and get the whole community signed up to Flood Alert. My fellow Labour councillors fully support me.
Coun Paul Kenny