Make decisions on Yorkshire's flood defences locally

In the wake of the devastating flooding affecting the region, Yorkshire First has slammed a system which means no decisions about flood defences are made locally.

Instead, choices about where to spend dwindling flood defence cash are made by civil servants hundreds of miles away in London.

Leader of Yorkshire First, Richard Carter, commented:

"Firstly we at Yorkshire First extend sympathy to all those affected by these nightmare conditions.

"Secondly, we want an independent review on the state of flood defences across Yorkshire. There is a lot of blame and counter blame happening at the moment which is helping no one. The best way to get beyond this is to review the current state of flood defences and how they might be appropriate over the next twenty years or so given the sort of weather we might expect with climate change.

"Thirdly, we call on the government to halt cuts to local authorities and to police and fire services in Yorkshire. It seems entirely counterintuitive to cut those very services which are best trained to deal with flooding and send in troops instead.  For example, some 2000 police and staff have been cut from West Yorkshire in the past few years alone. Just think of the role they could be playing at the moment.

"The final point, aside from the flood defences and intended resources, is that these matters are best dealt with at a Yorkshire level and not micromanaged from a desk hundreds of miles away in Whitehall. After all Scotland has responsibility for its own flood risk management; we want the same for Yorkshire via a devolved government."

Richard Carter concluded:

"On his visit to Yorkshire today, David Cameron should ensure both fast and decisive short term action to the communities affected but he must also commit to longer term solutions such as the independent review of water management and a halt to cuts in appropriate services."

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