On 25th February 2020 Lord Greaves asked the Government “what steps they are taking to compensate households and local businesses that have been affected by flooding caused by recent storms and heavy rainfall.” The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd John Inge, asked a follow up question:
The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, Worcestershire has been as badly affected as anywhere in England by the recent floods and the river level is still rising in Worcester. At the same time, I have to observe that a great deal of work has been done since 2007, which has meant the damage has been much less than would otherwise have been the case. I support the call for swift and full compensation. At the same time, I pay tribute to the emergency services, which have been superb during these floods. Will the Minister join me in paying tribute to them?
Continue reading “Bishop of Worcester pays tribute to emergency services responding to floods”
On 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”
On 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”
On 4th February 2016 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on flooding.
The 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”
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.
The 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”
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.
The 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”
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.
Mrs 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”
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:
The 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”
On 2nd March 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received answers to written questions on the Somerset Rivers Authority and homelessness.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to ensure that the legislative process of making the Somerset Rivers Authority a precepting body progresses in order for it to be established by April 2016.
The review will look into all possible funding options and how they could be implemented.
Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to review their policies and resources which support relationships, in the light of recent research by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Salvation Army which suggests that relationship breakdown is the most common cause of homelessness.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Communities and Local Government): This Government has increased spending to prevent homelessness, making over £500 million available to help the most vulnerable in society and have kept strong protections to guard families against the threat of homelessness. As part of this funding we have maintained investment in local authority homelessness prevention services, providing £320 million since 2010/11 which has helped local authorities to prevent over 730,000 cases of homelessness. Almost 38,000 of these were helped to stay in their home through mediation and conciliation schemes.
On 29th January 2015, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received an answer to a written question on flood control.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure long-term support and funding for flood prevention schemes. [HL3997]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): This Government has developed a six-year programme of work, involving over 1,400 projects, to improve defences throughout the country between 2015 and 2021. This has been made possible by our record level of commitment by investing £2.3 billion in improving defences over the coming six years. Efficiency gains will ensure this funding goes even further. This work is projected to reduce the risk of flooding or erosion to at least 300,000 households by 2021, and avoid around £30 billion in economic damages.