AN MP who visited flood-hit communities heard views on what could be done in the future to protect villages.
North Dorset MP Bob Walter went to areas in his constituency worst hit by the deluge – Milborne St Andrew and Stourpaine near Blandford.
He saw for himself the impact of the extreme weather and heard views on future flood prevention.
At Milborne, Mr Walter met flood warden Steve Lord at his home who explained why he felt homes and roads north of the A354 are suffering such prolonged flooding on an almost annual basis.
Concerns were also raised about the impact of some drivers ignoring road closure signs on Milton Road, adversely affecting nearby properties.
Mr Walter then moved on to Stourpaine to meet with parish, district and county councillors, Stourpaine volunteer flood officer Lyle Adlem, and residents – some of whom were forced to leave their homes on Christmas Eve. At least ten houses in the village were flooded to a depth of two feet, some for the second time in 18 months. One resident had to be rescued by boat.
The A354 Blandford to Salisbury Road was affected by flooding. A multi-agency taskforce made up of the Environment Agency (EA), Local Authorities, the NHS, utility companies and the emergency services has been put together to work with affected communities.
Mr Walter said: “Having seen the flooding on Christmas Day for myself, it was all too clear that North Dorset had been badly affected by the extreme weather conditions. My heart goes out to those faced with cleaning up after a Christmas ruined by floodwaters.
“The purpose of my visits was to find out from local communities what might be done to help those areas that appear to be persistently flooding and find out why. The government is investing £2.3billion to tackle the risk of flooding by 2015 and has committed to providing the EA with an above-inflation increase of £5million on next year’s flood maintenance work.”