Flooding chiefs will no longer be able to pass the buck when it comes to taking responsibility for preventing and fixing water-logged homes.
Gloucestershire County Council’s Conservative cabinet today agreed to a new flood risk strategy which will see Shire Hall taking a leadership role to hold others to account.
The strategy will see borough councils, the Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Board working together under the same umbrella to prevent flooding devastation.
The aim of the plan is to improve Gloucestershire’s understanding of flood risk, create a blueprint to manage those risks, avoid inappropriate development which could cause flooding elsewhere and to make sure all of the relevant organisations work together to tackle problems.
The county council’s decision to take charge and lead the way comes as the county remains subject to flood alerts on the River Severn.
Councillor Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways and flood, believes the new strategy is the next step in helping the county get to grips with what is becoming a more frequent occurrence.
“It is vital that we work together with organisations and local communities to better understand and manage flood risk,” he said.
“Flooding cannot be wholly prevented, although its impacts can be reduced through investment and good planning.”
The county council has invested £48 million in flood management since 2007.
In the wake of the flood strategy announcement the county’s Labour group attacked the ruling Conservatives for their record on flood spending.
The party claimed the county council has been spending “less and less” on flood defences since 2008/09.
However, the Tories slammed the accusation as a “smear”, labelling the claim as “misleading and factually inaccurate”.
The county council spent £14.5 million on flooding works in 2008/09 in the immediate aftermath of one of the worst floods in recent memory.
Meanwhile, the authority spent £3.7 million in 2011/12 and is forecast to spend £4.4 million, a 25 per cent year on year increase, this year.
Mr Smith accused Labour of “gutter politics”.
He said: "When Labour say we are 'cutting funding for flood defences' that is simply a lie.
"Labour are trying to mislead Gloucestershire people by comparing spending on flood defences in the aftermath of the 2007 flooding with spending today.
"They are using spin to try to score party political points about people’s homes flooding.
"This is gutter politics in every sense of the word – it’s just a shabby attempt to con Gloucestershire people.”
Labour leader, Councillor Lesley Williams, said: “The figures, which the Tories have provided, show that under their watch the county council is spending £10 million less on flood defences than they were in 2008/09.
"They have decreased spending so much that it is not surprising they are now increasing what they spend on flood defences given the bad weather.
"It remains the case that they are spending far less on flood defences then they were six years ago. ”