Calls for flood work funds

Emergency flood response should become a statutory duty for the fire service to ensure it gets the funding it needs, MP Ian Lavery has said.

The Wansbeck Member made the call in a Parliamentary debate about how the country is preparing to deal with future flooding.

He said that while fire brigades will always respond to flood alerts, it is not a statutory obligation, which limits the level of funding that can be used for specialist equipment and training.

“It is essential that these services are funded appropriately because, quite frankly, there has been a slash-and-burn exercise within local government that has had a huge impact on fire services,” he said.

“Responding to flood is still classed as an additional responsibility, which is not funded.”

Mr Lavery praised Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service for its response to flooding in Morpeth and Hepscott.

And he also offered thanks to the Environment Agency for its work delivering the Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme.

He added: “We must do all we can and look at every possible way of securing the safety and protecting the best interests of people who live in flood-risk areas.”

Under Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Dan Rogerson said it would be kept under review.