On Wednesday 27 April ADA’s Chief Executive Innes Thomson gave evidence to the House of Commons Environment Food & Rural Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into Future Flood Prevention, chaired by Neil Parish MP. Also present in the session was Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council and representing the Local Government Association.
Below are some of the key quotes by Innes from the evidence session, the full transcript and video can be downloaded from the EFRA Committee’s website.
“The very important thing is having the ability to be able to see, in perpetuity, who is going to maintain these systems and what money is available for people to be able to do that effectively.”
Watercourse management is not something you do on a year-to-year basis. You have actually got to take a much longer view of that. What we are currently seeing, over a much longer term behind us, is a certain amount of neglect of management of our water systems. We need to try to get that back to a point where they are all functioning healthily from top to bottom so there is total catchment management.”
Strategy and delivery
“It is about making sure that the right partner is involved in the right scale of work. The Environment Agency has got an absolutely critical role to play nationally giving strategic guidance, in flood incident management and emergency response – they are unparalleled worldwide in the service that they provide – and thirdly, in terms of modelling data and evidence; they are excellent custodians of that information. When it comes to delivery there are some very large projects around the country where it requires a national agency to deliver those but, looking more at the local context, say spending a few tens of thousands of pounds; is the Environment Agency best placed to do that? Maybe not. It might be an IDB, it might be a local authority, or it might be a water company or a rivers trust that are able to deliver that. We have got to get the equation right about who is best doing what. It is not a one-size-fits-all procurement approach.”
Total Catchment Management
“We need to think about the whole cycle of the water, from the moors right down to the estuary.”
“How [do] we educate our people generally to see water as an opportunity and to treat it as a resource rather than something that we need to push as quickly as possible out to the North Sea or the Atlantic.”
“Investing in resilience is the sort of concept that we need to think about far more in Britain.”
“We need to think a bit more innovatively about, if we allow development to take place, making sure the developers do not put plaster on the walls at ground floor and make the buildings non-resilient to flooding.”