A PUBLIC enquiry into why people in Somerset were not listened to ahead of the devastating floods is not needed and would be a waste of money, claims Bridgwater’s MP.
Ian Liddell-Grainger MP met Prime Minister David Cameron last week as it was announced that over £20million is to be spent on repairing roads and making it less likely that communities will be cut off by future floods.
He told the Mercury: “We’re continuing to put pressure on the Government. Money is still coming and Somerset has not been forgotten.”
But Bridgwater councillor Mick Lerry has called for a public inquiry into the problems which led to the flooding and is urging Mr Liddell-Grainger to ask the Government to implement one.
He said: “Many flood victims still feel uncertain about flooding in the future.
“There should be a public inquiry to understand what went wrong in order to avoid the flooding of homes and businesses on the Levels.”
Mr Liddell-Grainger said a public inquiry was discussed months ago with the PM, and it was felt it would “cost a fortune, take too much time to complete and reveal nothing new”.
He said: “The Government is fully aware that the situation was mishandled by the Environment Agency.
“If people want an inquiry to have someone to blame the finger has already pointed at the EA – that’s why the new chairman is an engineer.
“A public inquiry would have been useful in 2000 when initial problems with flood defences were identified – it’s too late now.”
Meanwhile, a petition for the public inquiry at http://epetitions.direct. gov.uk/petitions/60005 has attracted over 500 signatures.
The MP and the PM also discussed the Bridgwater barrage – a number of plans have been drawn up, looking at different options, such as a hydro-electric barrage or a road going over the top.
Mr Liddell-Grainger said the barrage would run above Dunball with defence works either side on the bank.
He said: “The EA realise that they are being scrutinised by locals and the Government.”