MP vows to pile on the pressure

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MP Ian Lavery has pledged to continue the fight for Morpeth’s flood defences after touring the worst hit parts of the town.

The Wansbeck member, who represents Morpeth town centre, was shown around the disaster zone by members of the Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) on Friday.

He met victims of the 2008 flood, viewed existing defences and discussed what he could do to progress Morpeth’s case for the promised flood alleviation scheme to be put in place as soon as possible.

Mr Lavery was also given letters from flood victims to pass on to Government Ministers, pleading for work on defences to begin this year.

He said: “The walkabout went fantastically well.

“I have spoken about the flood in Parliament, read documents and am very well clued-up on the whole situation, but that isn’t the same as visiting the area and seeing exactly where the water levels reached.

“We walked along the whole area of the flood defences, but what was brilliant was meeting people along the way.

“I think that of everything I have read and all the pictures I have looked at about the flood, the experience on Friday was the most interesting and the most enlightening because I now have a full picture and understanding of what happened to those residents and businesses in the area.

“I met some very interesting people, who suffered gravely as a result of the flood. I listened carefully to their concerns and what they want to see in the future.

“It was a great exercise.”

Since his tour, Mr Lavery has spoken to Baroness Quinn to inform her of the Morpeth problems ahead of a flooding debate in the House of Lords, which took place on Tuesday.

And the MP said he will continue to work on behalf of the town to pile on political pressure for the flood scheme to go ahead.

“This issue has not just been raised in the House of Commons now, it has also been in the House of Lords,” said Mr Lavery.

“I am waiting for a decision from the people of Morpeth about how best to go about achieving what they want so there is constant dialogue, constant discussion and constant consultation.

“We are waiting for the Environment Agency to come up with new plans as to whether they can fund any part of the flood alleviation scheme at this moment in time or in the next year or so, but there is a lot of work being done behind the scenes and that will continue.”

MFAG Chairman Alan Bell welcomed Mr Lavery’s support.

He said: “We are very pleased that Ian Lavery is taking up the plight of everybody that was affected by the floods and he was very encouraging. We had a good discussion after the tour about progress of the flood alleviation scheme and what can be done to further our cause.”