Lack of flood prevention cash in Lancaster and Galgate ‘utter travesty’

Residents in Galgate say they are angry and demoralised over a lack of action on flood prevention
Residents in Galgate say they are angry and demoralised over a lack of action on flood prevention

Residents in south Lancaster and Galgate have expressed their anger over a lack of action nearly two years after their homes were flooded under several feet of water.

Following the flood in November 22, local action groups have been set up, and the Environment Agency has visited affected areas to assess the damage and work out a way forward.

Photo Neil Cross'The floods at Galgate'A car is recovered from under the motorway bridge

Photo Neil Cross'The floods at Galgate'A car is recovered from under the motorway bridge

But residents have been critical over the lack of actual action and investment.

Shaun Corkerry, chair of Galgate Flood Action Group, said that effective flood defences in Galgate would cost around £18m.

But the Environment Agency has told residents that the village would not qualify for the funding based on a scoring system.

He said: “It’s two years since it happened, but very little has been done.

Photo Neil Cross'The floods at Galgate

Photo Neil Cross'The floods at Galgate

“A promised flood gauge hasn’t even been fitted.

“There’s a flood wall that needs repairing. They tell us that not enough houses flooded to warrant the spending.

“We had 160 properties affected here, and people are needless to say very angry.

“The weather is getting more extreme and it’s getting wetter.

“People are worried that any new building work will just make matters worse.

“People are demoralised.”

Although Galgate has a history of flooding going back many years, the Met Office is predicting more frequent and widespread floods over the next decade, and residents are wondering when and how hard they’re going to be hit next.

There are also major concerns that planned housing developments in the village and nearby will only make the situation worse.

A Lancashire County Council report published last month concluded that “with hindsight” it was surprising that a Major Emergency was not established across the affected district council areas.

Andrew Egerton, chair of South Lancaster Flood Action Group, described the situation as an “utter travesty”.

He said: “Next time a storm passes over Lancaster it will be sandbags at the ready, only Lancaster City Council will not provide sandbags!

“There is clearly a national disaster unfolding where it is recognised that climate change will mean we have more severe weather events more often, it is recognised that significant investment in action is needed to protect people’s homes, businesses and in the extreme lives, yet nothing has been done and at present there is no planned activity to protect those affected in the November 2017 floods and even when a solution is identified it is sidelined as too costly.

“Our community is suffering because Government policy and importantly funding is simply inadequate to enact the solutions required.”

Mr Egerton said that the Environment Agency held a multi-agency workshop, which included Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, United Utilities and members of South Lancaster Flood Action Group on August 23 to provide an update about an appraisal into potential works on Burrow Beck.

He said that a £3.4m scheme would move 85 properties from ‘Very Significant’ flood risk to ‘Moderate’ flood, but that, due to central government contributing only a third of the cost, there is a £2m funding gap and the scheme is deemed unviable.

The Environment Agency has been contacted for comment.