We can’t keep blaming the flooding in Lancaster on extreme events.
Weather happens – all year round and other villages, towns and cities don’t experience the same issues some businesses and residents are experiencing here in our city. This is the message I’ll once again be forcefully sending to United Utilities and Lancashire County Council in the hopes that something is done before the storm clouds gather again.
Lancashire County Council says upgrading the drainage system would be expensive and disruptive – in the same way it’s expensive and disruptive to local residents who have to deal with the distressing aftermath of damaged premises and destroyed belongings. Local councillors report a combination of the streets being swept less often, drains being cleared less often, and there being nowhere for the rain to go. In some cases you can’t even identify where the drains are, being too small, too old and completely covered with moss, leaves and detritus. The council says that the ‘local population has grown and housing concentrations have expanded which puts pressure on the capacity of the drainage systems, some of which have been underground for over a hundred years’. They say they will investigate the causes of recent flooding and what improvements can be made. In the meantime investigations are still ongoing into what caused the flooding in November – whilst the obvious problems of blocked drains and poor street maintenance are ignored.
On Sunday, ironically, United Utilities are enforcing a hosepipe ban – as one of my constituents said – ‘you just couldn’t make it up.’
I’m pleased that Lancaster City Council is working in partnership with the Environment Agency in preparing a flood risk management scheme for the businesses and communities in the Caton Road and Aldrens Lane areas of Lancaster – but more needs to be done now by United Utilities and the county council if we are to avoid yet more misery this coming winter.