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Yalding: Jasper Gerard meets Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander MP calling for flood barrier

By Claire McWethy

A Liberal Democrat activist has met with a top government minister, calling for a new flood barrier for Yalding.

Parliamentary campaigner for Maidstone and the Weald, Jasper Gerard, handed over details of Environment Agency proposals to Danny Alexander on the steps of the Treasury in London yesterday.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury paid a visit to the flood-stricken village in February, where he spoke to residents struggling to make claims on their insurance for damage to their homes and possessions.

Maidstone parliamentary campaigner for the Lib Dems, Jasper Gerard, with Danny Alexander
Government minister Danny Alexander visits Yalding.

Mr Gerard said: “He was shocked by the damage and promised there would be no barrier to Treasury funding.

“I intend to hold the government to that.

“We are talking about big numbers and more detailed work is required on the technical side to prove that the new schemes would be effective.”

The latest proposal by the Environment Agency is to build a new Leigh Barrier, which could cost £10.2m.

The agency also recommends a further barrier to protect parts of Yalding and Collier Street, to prevent a repeat of the devastating floods residents experienced at Christmas.

Yalding was one of the areas of Kent hit hard by floods

It is estimated to cost £25m. Kent County Council has so far offered to contribute £17m to the flood defences.

Mr Gerard added: “An entirely new barrier for Yalding might also require an Act of Parliament so there is still a lot of work to do right across government.

“But I was encouraged by Danny’s willingness to engage and he told me that he recognised that this is a very important issue for the people of Maidstone and the Weald.”

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