Labour pledges to establish a Flood Resilience Taskforce that meets before every winter to protect communities from the dangers of flooding

Labour pledges to establish a Flood Resilience Taskforce that meets before every winter to protect communities from the dangers of flooding 

Labour has today pledged to establish a Flood Resilience Taskforce that will meet every winter ahead of the peak season for flooding. 

The COBRA-style taskforce will coordinate flooding preparation and resilience between central government, local authorities, local communities, and emergency services.

It will ensure that vulnerable areas are identified and protected – including drainage systems, flood defences and natural flood management schemes in communities, completed on time. The taskforce will also provide accountability for progress on flood prevention in areas at risk before floods take place.

The Government’s failure to act against the risk of floods has cost the economy nearly £4 billion pound since 2010, new analysis from Labour has found. Four major floods have hit Britain since 2010 costing £3.8 billion pounds with thousands of homes destroyed, businesses decimated, and agriculture dilapidated. 

Years of Conservative complacency have left communities up and down the country unnecessarily exposed to flood damage. The Government slashed the resources of the Environment Agency – the agency tasked with flood preparedness and response – by two-thirds since 2010, leaving families and businesses to pay the price for extreme floods. 

One in six UK properties are now at risk of flooding. 

The Environment Agency estimate that the number of at-risk homes could double by 2050 due to the impact of climate change, which is leading to more volatile weather patterns, more intense rainfall, and more floods.

The next Labour Government will also appoint a Minister for Resilience within the Cabinet Office and overhaul local resilience forums, so they are more ready to respond to emergencies such as floods.

Rather than following Labour’s lead the Government has ignored the problem, leaving communities all over the UK exposed to the dangers of flooding. Communities who are preparing for a difficult winter around the UK should be given confidence that if the worst comes to worst, there is a plan in place to coordinate responses and keep people, their homes, and their businesses safe.

This week Environment Secretary Therese Coffey was slammed by residents in Retford, a flood hit community, due to the lack of preparation from the government despite floods hitting the same community in 2007. One resident said, “you will go way again, nothing will happen, and it will be swept under the carpet.”

Steve Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, said: 

“My heart goes out to all families and businesses whose lives and livelihoods have been damaged by these floods. 

“The Conservatives’ sticking-plaster approach has left communities devastated and cost the economy billions of pounds.  

“In government, Labour will set up a Flood Resilience Taskforce that meets before every winter to make sure there is better coordination between national and local government and emergency services on the ground, so we give communities and local economies far better protection against flood damage.”