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SPEAKING IN a Commons debate on Wednesday 11th July, Angela Smith MP reminded Ministers of the need to respond appropriately to the damage suffered by Sheffield and all flooded areas.

She told MPs of the damage her constituency has suffered, with some areas not only suffering flooding on the 25th June but also the previous week. Some residents have lost everything, she told MPs.

She also told MPs that because of the force of the water bridges and roads in her constituency have been badly damaged, with one road, the A6102 at Middlewood, suffering around £3 million of damage with a 60ft drop appearing on one side of the road.

During her speech she also informed Ministers and fellow MPs that without help many small businesses in her constituency and Sheffield as a whole face financial ruin. Not only businesses are suffering but so too are community facilities, many of which need financial help if they are to provide the services they have in the past. For instance, she told MPs that Newton Hall in her constituency has been flooded twice, with considerable damage being done to both the fabric of the building and fixtures. Others, such has the cricket ground in Oughtibridge, are also severely damaged and need substantial investment.

As far the future, she told MPs that we need to examine the water infrastructure again, pointing out that drains are the responsibility of local authorities, rivers and becks are the responsibility of the Environment Agency, and sewers are the responsibility of the water boards. “That does not make sense. We need an over-arching body to oversee the maintenance of these waterways”, she said. She explained how the comprehensive performance assessment includes in its performance indicators the cleanliness of public space and the condition of unclassified roads, but not the maintenance of the drainage system, that needs to change, she believes.

Issued : 13 July 2007

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