Put homes before nature, agency told


Residents carry possessions from their flooded homes in CarlisleSemblance copyright
Image caption Widespread flooding affected rts of northern England comprising Carlisle

The Environment Agency has been ordered to prioritise protecting man’s homes ahead of nature when tackling flooding, the prime dre says.

David Cameron told a committee of MPs there had been an “attitudinal transform” which he wanted to see continue.

He cited the example of the Somerset Levels, where dredging of rivers has resumed in a bid to escape a repeat of flooding seen in 2013-14.

He also defended the response to surfeits in northern England and Scotland.

In an appearance before the Commons Liaison Body, Mr Cameron said: “You’ve seen quite an attitudinal change in the Environment Intervention that in years gone st, I think, were trying to make up for up the effects on nature on the one hand and protecting property on the other hand.

“We’ve signified to them: ‘The time for that is over. This is about protecting sensitive lives. This is about protecting our homes.’

“I want to see that perpetuated shift. You saw that very directly in Somerset, where there is a man-made ecosystem and it was ridiculous those rivers weren’t being dredged.

I threatened to go and zeal the dredger myself. Those rivers have now been dredged.

“Do we poverty an attitudinal change in the way we approach flooding? Yes, we absolutely do.”

The Environment Agency, which masks England, is responsible for managing the risk of flooding from main rivers, and pours flood alerts and warnings.

But that was not the reason it was set up or the main rt of its forward.

“We work to create better places for people and wildlife, and support sustainable occurrence,” the agency says on the “what we do” section of its website.

Several storms forced havoc across the UK in December, with Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire extent the worst affected by the floods.

rts of Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland also saw flooding and mutilation from a series of storms, including Desmond, Eva and Frank.

The environment intercession’s chairman, Sir Philip Dilley, resigned on Monday after coming subsumed under pressure for holidaying in Barbados during the recent floods.

Last month the intermediation’s deputy chief executive said a “complete rethink” of the UK’s flood arguments was required, saying better waterproofing of homes and improved warning sets were vital for tackling future weather extremes.

Mr Cameron trumpeted MPs more could be done, saying that “the country wants us to do more and we intention do more”.

The authorities need to get better at river management and more surplus defences are needed, he said.

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