Flood defences row: UK paying price for David Cameron’s broken promises

David Cameron, wading through floodwater in York and wearing his ‘serious’ face to talk to soldiers, rescue teams and volunteers. He won’t go near the general public.

“There are always lessons to be learned and I will make sure they are learned,” said David Cameron after severe flooding affected thousands of people across the country. But that was in February 2014, when the prime minister was visiting the submerged Somerset Levels. No systematic review of flood protection ever happened.

On Sunday, as terrible floods hit Yorkshire and Lancashire, Cameron said: “Whenever these things happen, you should look at what you spend, what you’ve built … clearly we should look again at whether there’s more we can do.”

Cameron cannot say he was not warned: he has ignored red flag after red flag, right from the start of his premiership. In the first year of the coalition, he cut capital spending on flood defences by 27% year-on-year. That was despite the 2008 Pitt Review – a systematic analysis of major floods in 2007 – concluding that much more funding was needed. Funding had risen quickly under the Labour government, only to be slashed by Cameron.

The prime minister himself had expressed the risks. “Most people accept that, with climate change, [floods] are likely to be more frequent,” he told parliament in May 2008, following flooding in his Oxfordshire constituency.

Flood defence spending never recovered to the level inherited from Labour during the whole coalition parliament, if you exclude – as the National Audit Office deems appropriate – the emergency funding delivered after flooding 2013-14.

Source: Flood defences row: UK paying price for David Cameron’s broken promises | Environment | The Guardian

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7 thoughts on “Flood defences row: UK paying price for David Cameron’s broken promises

  1. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl)

    For such matters as flood defences it is better to err on the side of over-spending on security rather than to err on the side of cutting funding and risking devastation. Many of those now ruined homes might just as well be bulldozed to the ground and the country will have to assist their occupants by building on land which is well above any possibility of flooding.

    Insurance companies are not going to insure properties which have suffered such devastating flooding in the past decade so it seems unrealistic to repair rather than to rebuild (WHICH WILL NECESITATE GOVERN ASSISTANCE) in sensible areas.

  2. Dez

    The Camoron cannot keep blaming the Climate surely most of this issues lays firmly on his watch along with Ossie failing to open his purse strings to sort it out more worried about his financial conjuring tricks.

  3. Terry Davies

    Cameron accepts that climate change is a contributory factor to increasing likelihood of flooding.
    why did he let farmers choose how to deal with water drainage from their land?
    If they didnt deal with the run off waters as advised by the environmental agency why should farmers receive agricultural allowances for this purpose?
    cameron thinks because they will vote for the tory party. What do you think?
    farmers and general comments welcome.

  4. anna

    Camoron fiddles whilst Britain sinks beneath the floods,what next captured disgruntled British flood subjects dipped in oil and set on fire in his garden at night as a source of free light as Nero did????

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