16:00 Friday 10 January 2014

'Environment Agency cuts won't harm town'

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths

UTTOXETER’S MP has said he does not believe potential jobs losses proposed at the Environment Agency will put the town at further risk of flooding.

Andrew Griffiths spoke out after fears have been raised that 1,700 jobs expected to be lost in the next 12 years could decrease the organisation’s ability to aid flood-stricken areas.

Parts of Uttoxeter were left under water little over a year ago when heavy rain relentlessly hit the area, while many villages in East Staffordshire lie at constant threat of flooding.

But Tory MP Mr Griffiths said Government funding into flood defences would outweigh any job losses planned for the Environment Agency.

He told the Post and Times: “If we improve flood defences, we can stop homes flooding and the misery it causes, and that is why we are spending more on flood defences.

“The Government is spending £2.3 billion in this four-year period on flood defences which is more than the previous four-year period under Labour.

“The Environment Agency is getting an above-inflation increase of £5 million on their floods maintenance work in 2015 and 2016 which is more money than ever before on tackling the risk of flooding and coastal erosion.

“Cuts and job losses are in the huge Environment Agency as a whole, not specifically the department dealing with flooding and what matters is building barriers and dredging rivers, and we are getting that job done.”

With weather warnings once again suggesting heavy rain and wind could hit Uttoxeter, defences are being put in place to prevent floods.

Teams at Severn Trent Water are ready for flash floods and working round the clock to deal with the fallout from the possible deluge.

James Jesic, waste water manager, said there would be extra staff in call centres and additional teams out and about to deal with any flood issues.

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