Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 10 January 2013


I must start with an apology to all constituents who tried to call my office between Christmas and the New Year. We set up an answer-phone system but unfortunately in the melee that followed my office being flooded for the second time in two months, the phone has disappeared along with the system we set up! We are now back on track but if you rang and have not received a call back, please call again.

There is a very specific reason why my office has been flooded, relating to the new road for the Tungsten mine that has been put in place just up the valley. Discussions are in hand to make technical changes to the attenuation pond that was supposed to catch and hold the excess rainfall, but decided to burst its banks instead.  We hope soon to see this resolved.

But this will not alter the basic fact that 2012 was an astonishingly wet year, the ground is saturated, weather patterns are becoming more severe, many of our drainage systems cannot cope and the West Country is copping more than our fair share. It was distressing to visit many homes in Colebrook on Saturday before Christmas to see the extent of the devastation. Similar dramas unfolded in Ivybridge, Modbury and Yealmpton on the same fateful weekend. The Fire Service did a magnificent job in helping out.

A number of issues must now be pursued. It is simply not tolerable that our region should effectively be cut off from the rest of the country apart from the M5 (itself prone to flooding.) twice in two months. I have already spoken to the Secretary of State for Transport and meetings are being arranged urgently to put in place the right level of protection for our vital rail link.

Secondly the Colebrook flood defence scheme which is pencilled in for April 2014 must now be brought forward. At the moment, residents of this long established community must quake with trepidation every time heavy rainfall is forecast.  I have already spoken to South West Water and Plymouth Council to urge this to be brought forward as an absolute priority.

Finally, there is the issue of insurance. Already insurance companies are beginning to indicate that they will not insure certain homes against flooding. It is vital that the discussions between government and the insurance industry are now successfully concluded to ensure that every home can still get affordable flood insurance.

posted by Gary @ 09:27