14 OCT 2014

Helen chairs second flood forum for Maidstone and the Weald

Secretary of State commends 'Partnership Working' as a model approach for others to follow

Maidstone, Kent, 14-10-14: Helen Grant, Member of Parliament for Maidstone and the Weald, convened and chaired a second Future Flood Management Forum on Friday 10th October to ensure progress is being made on her integrated action plan and to press key stakeholders on the tangible measures being taken to avoid a repeat of last year's devastating floods.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the Environment Agency, parish, borough and county councils, emergency services, residents and businesses.

The future flood management forum is the second meeting chaired by Helen this year and gave all parties a chance to update on progress, cross refer with each other and plan the way ahead.

Helen was able to relay details of her meeting with the former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Owen Paterson, and her most recent dealings with the new Environment Secretary, Liz Truss.

Speaking after the meeting Helen said:

'Our first flood forum earlier in the year was about learning lessons from our response to the floods and coming together to ensure a coordinated effort going forward.

'We came away with a comprehensive action plan and I felt now was a suitable time to review progress'

'I am pleased that today's meeting was so well attended and I am encouraged by the work being undertaken by all parties to protect our flood prone communities.

'The Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Liz Truss, has informed me that partnership working and coordinated planning are the best way to secure a commitment to longer term measures to protect vulnerable areas across the constituency. That is why it is vital that we continue to develop and roll out our joined-up plan'.

'I will be circulating a report and action list following this second Flood Forum and will be convening a 3rd meeting early in the new year'

A statement from the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Liz Truss, was read out at the meeting as follows:

"As Environment Secretary, I'm determined to ensure that our communities are better protected from the risk of flooding. That's why we are spending £3.2 billion on flood protection - £0.5 billion more than in the last Parliament.

"I am only too aware of the dreadful time families and businesses across Kent experienced over the Christmas and New Year period and I know that the Prime Minister visited the flooded areas in the immediate aftermath.

"I want to pay tribute to everyone involved in rebuilding these communities; the residents, volunteers, businesses, councils and key agencies; they have all played their part.

"Helen met my predecessor, Owen Paterson, to discuss the work that has been going on in Kent to develop proposals for long term solutions to flooding and I'm pleased to hear that the second Future Flood Management Forum in Maidstone and the Weald is now taking place. Partnership working has proved extremely successful elsewhere and I would like to see it adopted as widely as possible.

"I hope that you will continue to build on your discussions, ensuring a coordinated approach to flood protection in Kent. I know Helen has played an instrumental role in bringing you all together and I look forward to discussing this important matter with her further."

ENDS

Photo: Helen Grant MP and stakeholders at the Future Flood Management forum, Maidstone Borough Council offices, King Street, Maidstone 10-10-14

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