Wainfleet flooding: MP Matt Warman apologises for failures

Public meeting
Image caption Some residents at the meeting claimed that dredging the river would have prevented the flooding

The government "failed" a town that was left flooded during heavy rainfall in June, an MP told angry residents.

Conservative Matt Warman apologised to those attending a public meeting in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, telling them: "Government exists to prevent the kind of flooding we saw."

Almost 600 homes were evacuated when the River Steeping burst its banks.

Residents have demanded answers about what happened and solutions to stop flooding happening again.

Mr Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, said that no-one was "proud to be in this position".

"It [government] exists to try and protect people who are vulnerable and I want to admit, first off, that it is a failure that we are in this position.

"It is a failure we are in this position - largely down to a whole load of factors. But I am not standing saying any of us are proud to be in this position.

"So that is a flat-out 'sorry'."

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Warman said that he had approached Environment Secretary Michael Gove "who had agreed funding would be made available" to improve flood defences in the area.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The River Steeping burst its banks after the equivalent of about two months' rain fell in two days

RAF helicopters were drafted in to drop bags of ballast in a £1m operation to fill a breach in the riverbank after the equivalent of two months' rain fell in two days.

Angry residents at the meeting claimed that a lack of dredging of the river to remove silt had led to the flooding.

One woman said that affected residents "want answers".

"Somebody somewhere has got to take responsibility," she said.

"Not just for my home but for everybody else's homes that have been flooded."

Image caption Conservative MP Matt Warman said the government would pay for improved flood defences

Leigh Edwin, from the Environment Agency, said he understood why people were "angry" but said that dredging would not have prevented the flooding.

"It's important that we choose the right solution to get to a better place," he said.

"And the hard fact is that de-silting alone of this river would not have prevented what happened."

Residents at the meeting on Thursday night called for any independent review to be carried out by an external body. They were told it would be carried out by another council.

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