Flood-warning cash for River Colne

PUBLISHED: 09:01 25 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

CASH for a flood-warning system which will alert villagers to problems has been made available by a government department. But the decision by Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - to make £200,000 available for flood warning along

CASH for a flood-warning system which will alert villagers to problems has been made available by a government department.

But the decision by Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - to make £200,000 available for flood warning along the River Colne which runs through London Colney, Colney Heath and Watford has been criticised for not doing enough to prevent flooding.

In February more than 70 houses in Colney Heath and a similar number in London Colney were threatened with flooding after snow turned into heavy rain. Although an alert system was in place for London Colney, there was no notification of the likelihood of flooding in Colney Heath.

But while a flood-warning system will help Cllr Chris Brazier, who represents both villages on the county council, says more money and maintenance is needed.

He said this week: "I don't think it is enough and we need more including people thinking outside the box. We need to go back to clearing rivers and bring back a Rivers Authority instead of the Environment Agency."

He went on: "Rainfalls have changed and where the Colne flooded every 10 years at one time it is now much more frequent. This won't come anywhere near solving the problems."

Cllr Brazier said what residents wanted to see was work being carried out to prevent flooding - "people say nothing is ever done," he commented.

His concerns have been echoed by the Countryside Alliance which has branded the money from Defra, "way short of what is needed" not just in the local area but in the country as a whole.

They point out that in two-thirds of cases, the summer floods of 2007 which caused £3 billion worth of damage and affected 57,000 homes and 7,100 businesses were due to surface water running off from overloaded drainage systems.

Sarah Lee, head of policy, said: "A Local Government Association survey found that 60 per cent of councils did not have the necessary funds to fulfil their flood risk responsibilities.

"So considering the financial and human cost of flood damage, this money is a drop in the ocean of what local authorities need to adequately protect homes and businesses from flooding.

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