Norwich MP urges top level approach to flood threats in Norfolk

Victoria LeggettThe county's newest MP has asked the government not to forget Norfolk as it draws up a Flood and Water Management Bill.Victoria Leggett

The county's newest MP has asked the government not to forget Norfolk as it draws up a Flood and Water Management Bill.

Norwich North's Chloe Smith, who sits on the bill's scrutiny committee, said the bill would give Norfolk County Council more responsibility for dealing with flood risks and the area would need more funding to help handle that.

She said she was keen to make sure the bill addressed the right issues. She said: 'In particular I want to see the national role of the Environment Agency and the local role for Norfolk County Council made crystal clear. There must be proper public accountability for the national flood strategy so that we can make sure it really works for us in Norfolk.'

The bill, which passed its second reading in the House of Commons before Christmas, responds to recent pressure to introduce laws to address the threat of flooding and water scarcity, both of which are predicted to increase with climate change.

Norfolk County Council would become responsible for drawing up a local flood risk management strategy, including detailed drainage plans and maps for the county, while the Environment Agency would gain responsibility for a national flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy.

The MP, who supports the bill 'in principle', asked Defra's Huw Irranca-Davies whether the public would be properly consulted over any new strategies.

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She later said: 'Nationally parts of the UK have experienced serious and tragic flooding recently. But flooding is also a huge worry for us in Norfolk.

'I am helping residents with one particular case of future flood risk in Norwich at present and everyone involved knows that what's needed is to find the right heads to bang together.'

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