The UK’s response to the flooding crisis must centre on a long-term strategy to address climate change the Green Party says today, as it recommends a series of ten measures to improve the country’s flood resilience in future.
It says sustained political action on climate change is crucial to reducing the risk of severe flooding happening again.
The Party is calling for Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to be sacked and for the Prime Minister to remove Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials who refuse to accept the scientific consensus on climate change (1). The Met Office has said (2) that the evidence points to climate change contributing to these extraordinary floods.
Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s Euro MP for South East England, said:
“These floods, which are now affecting thousands across my constituency, bring into focus the devastating risk of inaction on climate change.
We need to do all we can right now to help those affected by flooding, including applying to the EU for extra financial help. In the longer term we must reverse staff cuts at the Environment Agency and strengthen planning rules to prevent further development on flood plains.”
The Green Party’s ten point plan on flooding includes:
1. Reverse staff cuts at the Environment Agency, review its budget, and drop plans to impose a duty on the EA to consider economic growth which could get in the way of providing independent expert advice
2. Strengthen planning rules for urban and rural areas to prevent further development on flood plains and ensure developers prioritise flood resilience and prevention including through incorporation of SUDS in new developments as well as a programme of retrofitting SUDS to existing communities. Ensure better transparency of decisions so public can hold decision makers accountable.
3. Sack any cabinet Ministers or senior governmental advisors who refuse to accept the scientific consensus on climate change or who won’t take the risks to the UK seriously.
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
“Politicians who ride roughshod over the painstaking findings of climate scientists (3), sometimes motivated by their inappropriately close links to fossil fuel big business, endanger our future and our children’s future”
“It’s a crying shame more of the recommendations made by the The Pitt Review into the 2007 floods (4) haven’t been taken seriously by Labour, the Tories, and their Coalition government lackeys in the Lib Dem Party. But it is not too late for action.”
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“Across the country, homes and businesses are being devastated by the floods, and our hearts go out to everyone whose life is being turned upside down. Nature is giving us another wake-up call.
“In addition to making sure everything possible is done to help people affected by the immediate crisis, we need a credible long term strategy to tackle the risk of flooding and extreme weather to people’s homes and liveilihoods in the futrue.”
The call to government urges ministers to adopt the recommendations of a major independent cross sector coalition for a Cabinet-level committee on infrastructure and climate change resilience and a Royal Commission on the long-term impacts of climate change on land.
The Green Party is also calling for all staff cuts at the Environment Agency to be cancelled, planning rules to be strengthened to prevent further development on flood plains, and for increased levels of spending on flood defences to a level in line with expert recommendations from the Environment Agency and the Climate Change Committee.
And it is supporting the call of campaigners for the billions of UK fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks to be used to help the victims of flooding .
“This redirection will address the underspend and assist the victims of flooding, as well as putting a halt to public money exacerbating the problem of climate change that is making the floods so much worse”, noted Bennett.
The Green Party’s Ten Point Flooding Action Plan: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Flooding-10-points-_embargoed-14-Feb_.pdf