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Mark Spencer’s MP column: Progress being made on Hucknall flooding problem, but there is still work to do

Hucknall flood.
Thoresby Dale flood.

Hucknall flood. Thoresby Dale flood.

 

Ever since I was elected in 2010, I have been working to make sure that Hucknall is protected from flooding.

As we saw earlier this year, successive governments have failed to deal with this issue properly.

One of the biggest threats, in my opinion, is from new developments. If proper drainage systems are not put in place, not only will new homes suffer from flooding, but existing homes nearby will also be affected.

This is why I introduced a new Bill into Parliament earlier this year which would have forced local authorities to take responsibility for ensuring that there are proper drainage facilities in place when they allow planning permission for a new road or new housing estate.

My Bill was not accepted, but I’m pleased to say that people are listening to the principle.

For example, the plans for the new inner relief road in Hucknall, which originally proposed dumping the surface water in an already flooding public sewage system, now includes a flood prevention scheme developed in cooperation with the Environment Agency and Severn Trent Water.

But there is always more we can do. It strikes me as unarguable that when you’ve got diggers on the ground to put in a new road, you should use them also to put in a proper drainage system.

As I said in the House of Commons earlier this year when proposing my Bill: “It is not beyond the wit of man to put an enormous pipe underneath that road to take the surface water and not to put it into the public sewer. To do so would risk flooding existing houses that are already under pressure and suffering from sewage flowing through their homes.”

Thankfully, Hucknall managed to avoid the worst of the flooding that occurred earlier this year. But Hucknall is still at risk unless we take action now. It is always horrifying to see the devastating damage that flooding does to people’s homes and their livelihoods. I am determined to do whatever I can to help, and I have been talking to several people who have been affected to see what can be done.

One of the areas that has been hit particularly hard by flooding in recent months is the Thoresby Dale area of Hucknall, where a dedicated group of residents have met with me several times.

Just last month, I invited Eric Pickles to visit them so that he could see the photographs of when their street was turned into a lake after a freak storm hit the region. I’m pleased to say that following the terrible floods on the Somerset levels the Government announced £270 million for urgent repairs to flood defences, but I wanted to make sure that the Government was aware of what has happened here as well.

We must ensure that as we build and improve our towns we don’t also exacerbate existing flooding problems. It is our obligation to protect people’s homes when we build new developments. It causes a lot of frustration when different bodies pass the buck and blame one another when problems occur. This is why I will continue to work with the County Council, Environment agency, Highways Authorities and Local Authorities to make sure that there is always accountability and to ensure that Hucknall stays dry in the future.

As always if you would like to chat to me or have any issues or queries please drop me an email at mark.spencer.mp@parliament.uk or call my office on 0115 968 1186.

 

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