As a resident of Old Windsor, I am naturally concerned about flood risk in our area. It’s a scary prospect that our homes and gardens are somewhat exposed to the forces of nature, and I do hope that over the festive period you were well prepared for the adverse weather conditions that have hit not only Berkshire, but towns and counties up and down the country. I know that many homes locally were at risk of damage from the Thames, as the river came ever dangerously close to residents’ front doorsteps.
These recent conditions have shown that we can never be too complacent when it comes to protecting ourselves and our properties against rising tides. It is for this very reason that money for flood protection in our area must be a high priority.
I’m pleased that the Government is currently spending £2.3 billion on flood defences so that 165,000 homes will be better protected by 2015. In addition, a further £120 million was allocated to flood defences in the Autumn Statement last year protecting a further 60,000 households in England. That’s record levels; it’s more than the Government has spent on floods in the previous five years. Also, this week, we heard the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs make a statement on the floods, and I was delighted to hear him confirm that across the board, budget cuts will not impact on floods work.
I also want to thank the emergency services in Windsor and the surrounding areas for what they have done to help the many vulnerable people who needed their assistance and care over this difficult festive period. The weather is showing little sign of any respite for now, so do remember to keep safe at all times.