A voice to be heard

FLOOD campaigners in Morpeth are hoping to form a regional group to present a stronger voice.

The Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) is looking to bring together an organisation for the North area after attending the Northern Flood Conference on Saturday.

More than 90 people gathered in Carlisle to discuss the common issues faced by communities affected by flooding.

Guest speakers included Chairman of Cockermouth Flood Action Group Sue Cashmore, who gave a personal account of flooding, Environment Agency Regional Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the North East and North West Phil Younge, who talked about the new flood alert levels and his work with communities, and David Crichton, a specialist in insurance, who discussed the statistics behind flooding and the ways that different countries are addressing the issues.

The afternoon included breakout sessions where delegates were able to discuss issues with speakers.

MFAG hosted a session on flood related insurance issues.

Many concerns were discussed, but the biggest issues were problems with surface drains and the end of the Statement of Principles regarding insurance in 2013.

The MPs who attended and Chairman and Rural Advocate with the Commission for Rural Communities Dr Stuart Burgess said they would report the issues back to central government.

MFAG Chairman Alan Bell said: “It was a very well attended and interesting conference and it was useful for groups across the north to come together to see how we can address common flooding issues.

“We will now be looking to form a Northern flood group, which would give us a stronger voice with the Government and other bodies.”

He added that another conference will take place in about six months time and related working groups are also being set up.