06 FEB 2015

Helen Grant MP speaks about power of partnership working at CPRE Kent Flood Conference

Helen Grant tells CPRE flood conference delegates:

"Major funding applications must be supported by a joined up campaign before Ministers will act"

Maidstone, Kent, Friday 6th February 2015: The Kent Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) held a conference about 'Lessons Learned' following the floods of Christmas 2013 at County Hall in Maidstone last Friday. Over 100 delegates from all over Kent attended.

One focus of attention was how the village of Yalding coped both during and in the long aftermath of the floods. Local MP Helen Grant was invited to speak on a Q and A panel as she has been a key player in gaining the recent £17m capital funding announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

Helen was asked 'what should people be mindful of when trying to get the attention of central Government for help'.

Helen said:

"It is called Partnership Working. As a Minister myself I need to see that public money is going to be utilised in the most effective and efficient way. If there are several separate stakeholders making an approach about the same or a related issue, it causes concern. If. however, everyone joins together and acts as a unified voice, that helps instil the confidence we need"

At the time of the Kent Flood Funding announcement Secretary of State Liz Truss cited our own Multi-agency Flood Forum meetings and the resulting action plan as being key in her funding decision.

As MP for Yalding Helen also took great interest in a scheme put forward by a company called Floodline Developments who specialise in building properties on flood risk areas. Their conference presentation proposed a way of turning the former Syngenta chemical plant site near Hampstead Marina into a flood storage lake to help protect Yalding from future floods. They proposed funding the scheme by building 'Can Float' houses on the lake using ingenious architecture. Helen said 'This is one to watch – we have to think beyond our usual horizons when tackling unusual problems like building on a flood plain'.

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