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Prime Minister David Cameron visits Gloucester flood victims

By citizenmike  |  Posted: February 17, 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron meets some staff at Fire Command at Gloucestershire Tri-Services on a previous visit

Comments (12)

Prime Minister David Cameron has this morning visited flood victims in Longford.

The PM stopped off at the flood-hit area of Gloucester to meet residents at the Queen's Head pub.

He was then expected to make his way to the Gloucestershire TriService Emergency Centre, at Waterwells, as part of the visit to the city.

He has vowed to visit every flood-hit area around the country "to try and learn lessons" after speaking with residents in one of the country's most flooded towns.

Mr Cameron defended the Government's handling of the crisis and hit back at criticism. He described the floods as a "tragedy" while unveiling £10 million of support for flood-hit businesses to help them keep trading.

Mr Cameron said it was not fair to suggest the Government was on the back foot over its handling of unprecedented national flooding, adding that the Cobra emergency committee had been meeting since water levels started rising before Christmas.

"I don't really think that's fair at all," he said of criticism.

"When the bad weather and flooding started before Christmas in Norfolk, we had Cobra - the emergency committee - meet then.

"Then it met again after Christmas to talk about the problems in Kent and Somerset.

"I visited Norfolk and I've been up in Blackpool, here now in the West Midlands, and in the West Country.

"I'll try to get to every part of the country that's been affected so that we can learn all the lessons.

"But in Worcestershire we can recognise that the flood investment that went in after 2007 has made a real difference, with hundreds of properties protected."

He added that Government spending on flood defences had been increased to £2.4 billion in the current four-year period - an rise of £200 million over the previous spending period under the Labour government.

Mr Cameron told the Citizen newspaper: “We have been investing a lot of money into the flood defences than ever before. We have seen a massive improvement in the defences. Homes in Tewkesbury this time round have been better.”

He also went on to say that he noticed ‘bravery and courage’ from residents across Gloucester.

Many communities in the worst-hit areas remain on high alert, with rivers and flood plains still swollen with water, and more bad weather is forecast.

Sporadic rain is expected in the coming days, bringing fears of the possibility of water levels rising once again, but forecasters are predicted a largely drier week ahead.

Another spell of rain is expected in the South West today, the Met Office said, with 0.4in (10mm) to 0.8in (20mm) falling quite widely and up to 1.6in (40mm) over higher ground, exacerbating the problems for areas already flooded.

The EA said 16 severe flood warnings remain in place for the South West and the Thames Valley, with nearly 130 flood warnings and more than 180 flood alerts.

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  • MarkWallace  |  February 18 2014, 8:10AM

    Cameron cut funding for flood prevention. He took weeks to act until he realised the Tory electorate were furious with him. Now he's touring the country oozing insincerity and talking down to people as though he's addressing a class of 5 year olds. Incompetent, out of touch and incapable of leadership

  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 7:22PM

    North Glos EPC even these are two small alterations that would have a massive impact have a read of this on geomorphic impact of sluice or weir removal - http://tinyurl.com/o9k73ol

    |   -19
  • North Glos EPC  |  February 17 2014, 5:49PM

    GlosAnarchy No argument with you about the technical points you make. In an ideal world a big scale water management scheme would be the way to go. However in the real world we all know there's never going to be enough money for these projects let alone their ongoing and very necessary maintenance. So my simple point is build new houses where it doesn't flood and do what you can for existing houses at risk of flooding. That way the limited funds that will be available (as is always the case) get used to best effect. Surely better to succeed with something smaller than to fail miserably trying to do something big, as I believe would be the case quite simply because of the availability or perhaps more importantly the ongoing availability of the cash.

  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 5:14PM

    North Glos EPC I understand your points, but small scale protection might work for the property but you will still have the problem with the properties getting "cut off" you also have the possible problem with ground water flooding coming up from under the properties and how far do you go, just the buildings or all of the property garden and all? What I proposed isn't flood protection it's water management and the costs are in hundreds of thousands not millions, the replacement of alteration of bridges is a bit more pricey but is still required. For the flash flooding yes the drainage ditches are required but they need to be kept clear of all the man made detritus (shopping trolleys, sofas, bikes etc) Just the other day there where people complaining about the EA removing trees on the side of a drainage ditch as it posed a risk but they would be the first to complain if they got flooded. The balancing ponds are doing a great job at stopping flash flooding flooding but they also capture any suspended material (silt) so have to be cleaned out at regular intervals, because of contamination from oil etc this silt may often be classed as hazardous waste and have to be sent to landfill.

    |   -27
  • supernova1  |  February 17 2014, 4:27PM

    While I agree that there should be a national policy on flood plain building, I think I heard the other day that it is down to local councils to decided. That being the case, it's our councillors we need to target, not DC himself. Just on that note, DC has been brilliant at meeting affected victims, from quite early on, as opposed to that **** Chris Smith from EA, who goes and spends thousands on gay rights issues, and only once gets out of his penthouse suite to schmooze with a few victims. He, CS, will obviously be sacked, and DC can go on and win the next election if he sorts this out pdq.

  • North Glos EPC  |  February 17 2014, 4:10PM

    Glosanarchy, Yes you are probably correct regarding river flooding at least, but with the cash situation the way it is and the way it's likely to remain it ain't gonna happen. The best we could expect for new developments in flood prone areas is that developers are forced to put in a few extra local ditches and drains. They'll need constant maintenance which costs and won't be enough anyway. Better idea is to save on flood defenses by building where it doesn't tend to flood. Where we already have existing housing flood defenses could be more localized, on a smaller scale and therefore much cheaper. But as for a water management grand plan which to be effective will be of monumental cost can't see it happening. Besides if common sense prevails and new development takes place at the right volume and the right place (away from flood prone areas, both flash flood and river flood) there would be no need to even consider prohibitively high grand scale flood defense cost.

  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 4:03PM

    Sandra did you lubricate the cases or was it a dry insertion?

    |   -23
  • SandraPee  |  February 17 2014, 3:25PM

    Wow..... He actually met with the Flood Wardens , and officials ........... not ''residents'' as the sentence reads . My friend who is one of the worst effected out at Sandhurst , and has been since xmas rang to ask if I'd go to the meeting on her behalf........ as she and the others weren't able to attend as they are flooded in !! When I went along , it was ''named officers only'' ! However, they were good enough to let me speak to the PM on his way in . So, I was able to put my friend's case , and those of others . He told me he'd look into it , so, we'll wait and see . So, no, it wasn't open to ''the residents'' as such .

  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 3:09PM

    North Glos EPC, there is more to it than just building defences, water management is the core here, a system of adjustable weirs and a few replacement bridges could go a long way to helping reduce the flood risk from Worcester down past Gloucester. Reducing the height of the weirs will increase the flow dramatically and lower the river level at the same as removing silt, if this is carried out before the main body of water arrives there will be a lot more room for the water and less obstruction. There are several bridges that are causing pinch points and they also need to be replaced. A good question is what is the real height difference between the East and West channels of the Severn at Gloucester and not the depth as it's obvious that there is enough of a difference for the water to flow across the A417!

    |   -29
  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 17 2014, 2:39PM

    Lecorche you must be mad he's already taken the "shilling" from the property companies!

    |   -19