David Davis leads meeting on Humber flood defences


As published in the Hull Daily Mail
Failure to invest in flood defences could cost Humber region billionsHumber Bridge Meeting

MPs and councillors of all colours, spanning the region’s four local authorities, warned the Environment Agency that failure to act would set the Humber back by as much as £32bn.

In an extraordinary cross- party meeting, called by Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis, supported by four councils and the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, the agency was urged to stump up more flood defence cash.

Putting the economic case forward, they argued that the £888m needed to fully implement the Environment Agency’s flood defence strategy was a small price to pay in comparison with the cost of doing nothing.

Mr Davis said: “The councils have worked incredibly hard to deliver this report to highlight how much vital economic infrastructure is at risk of damage and disruption as a result of flooding in the Humber.

“I expect the figures they reveal will be most convincing.”

The level of investment needed will need to come from a combination of Environment Agency funds, as well as from local authorities and other bodies.

Mr Davis said: “From the high concentration of transport and energy infrastructure, all of these things are seriously at risk.

“To those who would say we can’t afford to pay this – you can’t afford not to.

“We are expecting a significant increase in sea levels to continue and the next surge event will happen in the next 50 years.

“It’s not a risk, it’s a certainty and if it happens and we have done nothing about it, people will not forgive us.”

Mr Davis has secured a debate on the Humber’s flood defence strategy, next Tuesday in Westminster, and will be able to put the case directly to government ministers.