The Environment Agency needs urgently reforming if flood alleviation schemes that protect residents and businesses in Bassetlaw are to be delivered, according to Bassetlaw District Council Cabinet Members, Cllr Julie Leigh and Cllr Sue Shaw.
In August 2021, Brendan Clarke-Smith MP announced that Bassetlaw was set to benefit from “£11.7 million of investment to help protect against flooding and coastal erosion” and that “545 more homes and businesses in Bassetlaw are to be better protected from flooding and coastal erosion by 2026-27.”
However, over a year and a half later there is still no real prospect of affordable Flood Alleviation Schemes for Retford and Worksop and the Councillors fear that the Environment Agency’s complex business case processes are putting residents and businesses at risk. With projects needing to be technically feasible, economically viable and fully funded to progress, there is a huge danger that inflation and spiralling construction costs will mean that the schemes for Retford and Worksop will be deemed as undeliverable by the Environment Agency.
The two Councillors have now written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Rt Hon Thérèse Coffey MP outlining their concerns and calling for Environment Agency reform.
Councillor Julie Leigh, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Ward Member for Worksop South said:
“Residents and business across Bassetlaw are all too aware of the devastating impact that flooding can have on people’s lives. Despite the announcement of millions of pounds of funding for Worksop, the truth is that in the last year the Environment Agency only spent £54,187 on the River Ryton Flood Alleviation scheme. Progress is painfully slow and without urgent reform of the way the Environment Agency evaluate, fund and move forward these projects, then the reality is the Ryton Scheme will be scaled back or worse, not delivered at all.”
Councillor Sue Shaw, Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Health and Community Well-being and Ward Member for East Retford East said:
“The Environment Agency have some excellent officers but their hands are tied by out of date processes and gateway reviews that see flood schemes bogged down for years without any real progress on the ground. Millions have been announced but in the last year the Environment Agency spent just £49,695 on the Retford Beck scheme. This is of great frustration as we made a commitment to provide funding towards the Retford Beck scheme and years down the line we are no further forward. Residents living in fear of flooding want to see action and the delivery of schemes, not bureaucratic number crunching on whether protecting their homes is economically viable. ”
Last Updated on Tuesday, April 4, 2023