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MP: Government should 'get on with' multi-million flood scheme
MARLOW MP Dominic Grieve is urging the secretary of state for environment to "get on with" installing a multi-million pound flood system for Marlow.
An £8.5million scheme devised by the Environment Agency to protect up to 200 properties was given planning permission in 2010 but has been on ice ever since due to a £2.9million funding gap.
Marlovians affected by this year’s devastating floods have launched a petition calling for the cash to be found after residents were forced to flee their properties when the Thames burst its banks in February.
And with the government pledging to take action after the worst flooding since 1947, Mr Grieve is determined to come to his constituents’ aid by lobbying cabinet colleague Owen Patterson to put the plan in motion.
He told the MFP: "I know the Government is keen to move forward with flood protection because it’s a priority so I strongly urged that consideration is given to the Marlow Flood relief scheme to go ahead quickly.
"Unlike many other projects all that‘s waiting is for the funding to be finalised, with the other ones you need to do feasibility studies and come up with schemes."
He added: "I completely support getting the funding. Quite a long time ago a clear decision was taken that this scheme justifies the expenditure.
"Seeing what happened and seeing the risk of further flooding strikes me as a good economic case for doing it.
"We’re talking quite a small shortfall in funding the way this works is that the government on the whole only supports anti-flooding scheme if you can show £8 of benefit for every £1 invested.
"Usually where you’re dealing with property floiodng that’s not difficult to show. My feeling is it fits the formula and we should just get on with it."
He added that although other places were affected worse than Marlow, the fact that planning permission is in place means it is a "good place to start."
The Environment Agency’s Flood Alleviation Scheme would protect an estimated 287 properties in Marlow, but would not extend to villages surrounding the town which were also badly affected.
The plans include constructing flood walls, bunds, and groundwater pumping wells at Pound Lane, Lower Pound Lane, Gossmore Lane and Firview Close.
The current funding gap is £2.9m, and unless the project is started by next May the planning permission will elapse.
After this year’s floods, Wycombe District Council leader Richard Scott, who represents Marlow, made a fresh call for the missing funding to be found.
And sisters Wendy McEvoy and Sandra Jeffs launched the ‘Fight the Floods’ petition last month after their elderly parents were evacuated from their Pound Lane home in February.
Mr Grieve said that after meeting with WDC, Bucks County Council, the Enviroment Agency and Thames Water, he requested further information from the Environment Agency and then wrote to Mr Patterson urging him to consider putting the plan in motion.
Mr Patterson’s department DEFRA is currently compiling a response, which Mr Grieve he said is confident will not take long.
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