THE Prime Minister “has listened to concerns” over the £888m funding needed to improve flood defences on the Humber, an MP said yesterday.
A cross-party group of MPs from Hull, East Riding and North and North-East Lincolnshire delivered the findings of a report to Number 10, which sets out measures needed to protect 110,000 homes and 20,000 businesses from the threat of future flooding.
Andrew Percy, MP for Goole and Brigg, said they’d had a “positive” meeting. He said: “The Prime Minister was all ears. He was well aware and well briefed on the issues affecting the Humber.
“Whilst no guarantees can be given, he has agreed to look at it in more depth. The next stage is to get the Chancellor and Defra Ministers to push this even further. We never expected him to write a cheque overnight. The important thing is he has listened and he is prepared to pursue the matter in more detail.”
The report prepared by local authorities says the threat of £32bn of potential damage, disruption and loss of investment if there was a repeat of last winter’s record-breaking surge “dwarfs” the £888m figure.
It states that around £656m will be needed for flood reconstruction over the next 10 years, with a further £232m for risk management.
MPs argue that the Humber, a major power generator, with oil and gas terminals that process 30 per cent of the country’s gas demands, should be treated as a national strategic asset.
Last week Haltemprice and Howden MP David Davis warned of a “costly and probably fatal” catastrophe unless defences are improved in the light of rising sea levels.
He said the Government could not simply ringfence major population centres like Hull and that the estuary had to be treated as a whole.
He said: “The numbers are enormous, but the cost of doing nothing would be far greater in the long run.”