Labour MP Bill Esterson slams Tory-LibDem Government for failing

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said the Tory-Lib Dem Government didn't have a strategy for dealing with changing weather conditions which was threatening people's homes in every corner of the country.

Bill said the Tories and Lib Dems were "confused" and "failing to get to grips with the national weather emergency".

Quizzing the Under Secretary of State for the Environment, Lib Dem MP Dan Rogerson, and referring to the floods and extreme weather conditions Bill said: "Last year the Secretary of State claimed that climate change could help the UK. He said: 'Remember that for humans, the biggest cause of death is cold in winter, far bigger than heat in summer. It would also lead to longer growing seasons and you could extend growing a little further north into some of the colder areas' Does the Minister feel that those comments are a little unfortunate, given what has just happened?"

Speaking afterward, Bill said: "The extreme weather conditions we are seeing at the moment have been predicted by scientists for years. They have been saying that the change in climate will result in increased rainfall, increased water levels, more incidents of storms and heavy winds.

"When the Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Paterson, last year said the changing climate in this country would lead to fewer deaths in winter because of warmer temperatures and extended growing seasons, particularly in the north, for farmers, it showed a crass lack of understanding for the issues relating to climate change.

"Regardless of whether you believe that climate change is man-made or not, the fact of the matter is that we need to be prepared for it.

"We need to have flood protection measures in place in all areas of the country, including here in Sefton. Instead, this Tory-Lib Dem Government is axing 1,700 posts at the Environment Agency. This, at a time when we are experiencing the worst storms we've seen in a generation and at a time when experts say the storms we've seen recently will become much more commonplace.

"The Tories and Lib Dems have shown they haven't got a grip of this problem and they haven't got the ability to put in lace a strategy to deal with this in the years to come."

Bill said he would fight to get extra funding for Sefton to make much needed repairs to flood defences along the borough.

Bill said: "The seemingly relentless heavy winds and the tidal surges we've experienced recently have taken their toll on our defences.

"Sefton Council is making good progress in the repairs, but the authority has been hit particularly hard by the Tory-Lib Dem cuts.

"These cuts will continue and there will be fewer and fewer resources available to make the necessary repairs in years to come, particularly in light of the cuts to the Environment Agency.

"I have been urging the Secretary of State for Environment to provide funding for areas affected by the storms, and I will continue to do so. The Tories and their Lib Dem accomplices have been very slow to react to the floods. However when the floods hit the playing fields of Eton suddenly the government woke up and promised action.

"Our coastal defences are crucial in ensuring the safety of thousands of homes and properties up and down the Sefton coastline. They need to be sound for the next time we are hit by a storm surge.

"The government must have in place a strategy for dealing with extreme weather not just in the south east of England, but also right here in Sefton."



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