Bishop of St Albans suggests irresponsible developers should be liable for costs of flood damage

St Albans 2On 8th November 2016, Baroness Jones of Whitchurch asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether flood defences are in place to protect vital infrastructure this winter.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: The Minister has already referred to the EFRA Select Committee report, Future Flood Prevention. One of its recommendations is the imposition on developers of a statutory liability for the cost of floods where those developments have not complied with planning regulations or the local planning situation, thereby causing additional flooding. Does the Minister agree with this eminently sensible suggestion, and will Her Majesty’s Government adopt it? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans suggests irresponsible developers should be liable for costs of flood damage”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about housebuilding in flood areas

StAlbans171115On the 10th February 2016 the Bishop of St Albans received two written answers about housing and flooding.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many new housing developments were built in the period 2010 to 2015 against advice given by the Environment Agency. [HL5516] Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about housebuilding in flood areas”

Bishop of St Albans asks about new housebuilding on floodplains

On 4th February 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on flooding.

StAlbans171115The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of new houses built in each of the years from 2010 to 2015 were built on floodplains, and whether they expect that proportion to change in the next five years. [HL5515]

 

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about new housebuilding on floodplains”

Bishop of Leeds leads debate on national response to flooding

On 14th January 2016 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, led a short debate in the House of Lords on flood management. His speech and the Government response is below. The full text of the debate, including a speech by the Bishop of St Albans, can be read here.

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to review their long term strategy for flood management, particularly in rural areas that do not qualify for large-scale flood defences.

LeedsThe Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to put to the Government the Question before us. If there was a sound track to this debate it would probably include Phil Collins’s “In Too Deep”.

It is important to note the destructiveness of the recent flooding, given that the news agenda moves on very quickly and communities which found themselves at the heart of a sympathetic nation quickly feel themselves to be forgotten. For some of the communities in my diocese, the recent floods come in the wake—almost literally—of other occurrences in recent years. For them the need for longer-term and more joined-up measures is obvious.

I pay tribute to civic leaders, emergency services, public service workers, members of the Armed Forces, the Environment Agency and local volunteers, many of whom sacrificed holidays and family time over Christmas to support victims of this appallingly destructive flooding. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds leads debate on national response to flooding”

Bishop of St Albans suggests new approaches to flood management

On 14th January 2016 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, led a short debate in the House of Lords on flood management. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, also spoke in the debate.

StAlbans171115The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank my right reverend colleague for today’s debate. Due to the shortage of time, straightaway I shall focus a little more on whole-catchment flood management. A renewed focus on this approach has been one of the notable outcomes of the current flood crisis, helped of course by the exemplary work of the Pickering slow-the-flow scheme, which the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, described so eloquently.

The potential of whole-catchment approaches—for example, using meandering rivers, planting trees and building permeable dams to slow water in upland areas and reduce peak flow further downstream—is enormous. In the long term, it provides a cheaper, more environmentally friendly method of flood management, which works, as a number of people have already said, with natural processes rather than constantly trying to hold back the tide. Such approaches also have the benefit of being effective across a catchment, rather than simply focusing on one or two high-value areas, and so can help to lower the flood risk in rural hamlets and villages that might otherwise not qualify for flood protection. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans suggests new approaches to flood management”

Church Commissioner question on flooding in Blackburn

On Wednesday 13th January  2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman, answered two written questions about support from churches in the Blackburn Diocese to flood victims and the damage to churches in the diocese caused by floods.

Mr Mark Hendrick: To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, which Anglican churches within the Diocese of Blackburn were damaged by flooding in December 2015; and what the extent of damage to each such church was.

Caroline SpelmanMrs Caroline Spelman: Within the Diocese of Blackburn seven churches and churchyards, the diocesan retreat house at Whalley Abbey and three Church of England primary schools were damaged by floodwater. Many have also found that the boilers and heating systems have been damaged beyond repair and extensive programmes of works will need to be undertaken to both dry the buildings out and restore or replace furniture, carpets and school materials.

Reports of damage are still being registered across the Dioceses of Blackburn, Carlisle, Manchester, West Yorkshire and the Dales and York. To date 129 church properties have registered substantial damage from the December storms with our insurers, though I expect that figure to rise. The Cathedral and Church Buildings Council of the Church of England will be working with the dioceses to develop robust disaster management and recovery plans and flood adaptation measures for churches and other buildings. Continue reading “Church Commissioner question on flooding in Blackburn”

Bishop of Portsmouth speaks on floods

On 7th December 2015 a statement from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on flooding in the north of England was repeated in the House of Lords. The Bishop of Portsmouth responded:

BishPortsspeechtaxcreditsThe Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, I apologise to the House and in particular to the noble Baroness, Lady Parminter, and the Minister for my earlier ill-timed intervention. I add an expression of my compassion and sympathy, and the assurance of my prayers, to all those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected and particularly to the families of those who died.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Carlisle lives in Keswick so has seen for himself the terrible problems caused by these storms. I know that the House will appreciate that he cannot be in his place today. In the past 10 years we have seen in Cumbria three so-called once-in-a-lifetime flooding events. Does the Minister believe that there may be a category problem here, and that some redefinition may be appropriate? Continue reading “Bishop of Portsmouth speaks on floods”