- Speaking at the Despatch Box, Luke sent his condolences to families who have suffered and lost loved ones
- Luke thanks emergency services for their hard work, but calls on government to give them the resources they need
- A robust response flooding is needed with short, medium and long-term plans put in place
Yesterday Luke spoke in the House of Commons in his role as Shadow Environment Secretary in response to the government’s statement on recent flooding. Speaking in the Commons, Luke said this:
“I join the Secretary of State in sending our condolences to the family of the man who died in Hampshire.
On behalf of the Opposition, I want to thank the emergency services, the Environment Agency, local councils, volunteers and communities who have worked tirelessly to protect homes and businesses, rescue people and animals from rising waters, fallen trees and debris, and to all those who have worked to reinforce flood defences, not forgetting the RNLI and our coastguard too.
The reality of the Climate Crisis is that more extreme weather will happen more often and with more severe consequences, especially for those who live and work in areas of high flood risk. As the climate breakdown escalates, we are seeing an increase in the frequency and intensity of deadly weather patterns. Much more needs to be done to prevent flooding, alleviate carbon emissions through habitat restoration, and to return flood plains to a natural state. Building homes on flood plains must stop.”
This isn’t a new issue and the government must to more to protect at-risk communities. Many of those affected in the last few weeks have been flooded in the past and government hasn’t taken action where it should have. In fact, the Environment Agency has seen its staffing levels fall by 20% since the Government came to power.
Luke highlighted that these are no longer isolated incidents that we have to react to, they are regular occurances that we desparately need to prepare for. That involves building more flood defences, incorporating better land management practices, and restoring habitats through rewetting and revegetation.
In the long term, Luke also repeated the need to take robust action and tackle the Climate Emergency. Flooding goes beyond an annual sequence of named storms causing temporary devastation. In the next few decades, it will increasingly impact communities like Plymouth through rising sea levels, wiping out entire communities across the UK. This will only be exacerbated by more frequent, aggressive and long-lasting storms such as Storm Ciara.
Luke recognised that this is a cross-party issue, but one where we need to do better.