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Friday, 28th September 2007

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Lancs homes under water

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Twenty homes were under two feet of water following heavy rain in Ribchester.
Firefighters were called to Ribblesdale Road in the village at around 3.30 on Tuesday morning after calls that homes were flooded.

Crews from Longridge spent two hours pumping away water from the affected properties.

It is believed that the flood water caused thousands of pounds of damage.

This comes after a fortnight of relentless rain caused flooding and devastation throughout the country.

Opposition politicians have warned the government against building further homes on flood plains.

Tory shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth raised concerns at proposals to built thousands of new homes near rivers vulnerable to flooding.

His comments follow growing opposition to ambitious plans to build on the banks of the River Ribble.

Preston Council leader Ken Hudson has said he would oppose development on the flood plain as part of the £800m Riverworks scheme, if experts objected.

The Environment Agency has indicated it would object to the scheme until existing drainage problems are sorted out.

However, speaking in the Commons, Mr Ainsworth warned that homes are still being
built in vulnerable areas despite warnings from the Agency.

Addressing Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, he asked: "Does (he) not think that a good way of minimising damage from flooding might be to avoid building on flood plains in the first place?

"Half the post-war building in the UK is on flood plains, and a lot of new building is destined to be so built.

"At present, a quarter of all planning applications opposed by the Environment Agency still go ahead. Does he regard that as acceptable?"

Mr Benn replied that he would investigate how planning policies were being applied.

The Riverworks project was unveiled by Preston Council bosses in 2005 and would see 3,000 to 4,000 new homes, a promenade, riverside shops, and offices.

Flyde Tory MP Michael Jack, chair of the Commons environment select committee,called for an investigation to be held on Britain's flood defences.
Last Updated: 03 July 2007 9:55 AM
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