Row between Defra, Environment Agency and Maidstone councillors over claims flooding cash for Yalding was scrapped
Claims that flood defence work in Yalding was scrapped because of government funding cuts have triggered a political row.
According to reports, the Environment Agency (EA) drew up schemes that would have cost £200,000 between 2011 and 2013 but they were never implemented.
Defra, the government agency which oversees flooding, acknowledged that the work had been proposed by the EA but it was not true to say it had been abandoned.
Flooding's still bad in Yalding
In a statement, a Defra spokesman said: “It is not right to say that these flood defence schemes have been abandoned and we will continue to build defences where they are needed.
"We are spending £2.4 billion on flood management and protection from coastal erosion. That is more than ever before.”
The Guardian claimed the planned work around Yalding was among dozens of schemes that did not go ahead because of funding cuts.
But county councillor Rob Bird (Lib Dem) said he was unaware of what the work amounted to and queried whether £200,000 would have made much difference.
River levels fairly high at Yalding. Stock picture.
The river burst its banks at the lock near Yalding. File picture: Matthew Walker
Flooded Little Venice caravan park in Yalding. Picture: ATEC-3D
“I honestly do not know what the work was but £200,000 would not have been much.”
The claim prompted Maidstone Green party candidate Stuart Jeffrey to call on environment secretary Owen Paterson to resign.
He said: “Yalding remains under severe threat from climate change and yet the government has cut funding to defend it throwing local peoples homes to the floods.
"£200,000 should have been spent helping to prevent people’s homes being ruined this Christmas yet this climate change denying environment secretary seems to know better.
"Owen Paterson should be sacked for his handling of the flood risks and for his continued denial of climate change.”
The Environment Agency declined to comment, saying the issue of spending on flood defence schemes was a matter for the government.
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