Flood expert Mary Dhonau demands more action from David Cameron on flooding

Worcester News: 0814523201 Paul Jackson 17.02.14 Upton-upon-Severn Prime Minister David Cameron visits Upton. Meeting local business owners. (4040443) 0814523201 Paul Jackson 17.02.14 Upton-upon-Severn Prime Minister David Cameron visits Upton. Meeting local business owners. (4040443)

A FLOOD guru has written an open letter to the Prime Minister about the perils of flooding and has demanded he do more to help victims.

Mary Dhonau, a community flood consultant from Worcester, has told David Cameron lessons must be learnt from the most recent floods which devastated parts of this county. Mr Cameron visited Upton last month when he announced £10 million support plan for flood-hit businesses and grants of up to £5,000 for flood victims.

Mrs Dhonau, herself a victim of flooding, wrote to Mr Cameron: "You (and many politicians before you) have repeatedly said that “Lessons will be learnt”. Will they? When the media have ceased pursuing you and the brief ‘sympathy visits’ to all affected areas are over, will you remember your promise? Or will you move onto the next big thing, forgetting the many people who will be out of their homes for at least nine months, as well the farmers and the businesses struggling to keep going?

"Flooding is the biggest natural risk we face in this country. The recent floods have shown us that water has the ability to bring vast swathes of this country to its knees – it is the silent burglar that wrecks so many people’s lives."

Mrs Dhonau said people were already at breaking point as a result of flooding and urged the PM to invest much more in flood risk management and told the PM trees were the best form of natural flood management.

She said: "The recent period of extreme weather has given us a grim foretaste of what this would be like. Worse still, this winter’s flooding crisis was not a ‘one off’ – the last decade has seen numerous ‘big’ floods and each one seems to get worse.

"Please stop building on the flood plain. No one in their right mind (I hope) would put in planning permission to build a housing development in the river, so why build houses where the river naturally goes when it floods?

"If we have to build on the flood plain, we must insist developers build houses that are sustainable – make them resilient to flooding, make use of sustainable urban drainage (something your government is currently dragging their heels on) using green roofs, grey water recycling and the like. We also have to slow down the runoff from developments, because urban flooding is on the increase - we’ve paved over, tarmacked and concreted over far too much of the country already. "

She told the PM she welcomed the grants of £5,000 to enable householders to make their own homes properly resilient to flooding but urged him to stop any planned cutbacks for the Environment Agency (who, incidentally, did a sterling job during the floods).

She wrote: "You have a chance to reshape our future – please do so."

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