Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, has said that investment in flood prevention in Abingdon, Oxford and the surrounding villages is “long overdue”, following the party’s announcement that it will create a £5bn flood prevention and adaptation fund.
Moran secured a debate on flooding in her constituency during the last parliament, taking the Government to task over its failure to invest sufficiently in the Abingdon Flood Alleviation Scheme, and over issues with the Oxford plans including traffic and pollution in South Hinksey, the main route for construction traffic for the scheme. The Lib Dem also called for a public meeting into the scheme, attended by local residents, and has argued that funding allocated for the Expressway project should be spent on flood alleviation instead.
During the debate, then-flooding minister Thérèse Coffey agreed to meet with Layla to discuss the schemes in Abingdon, Oxford and surrounding villages including South Hinksey. However the meeting never took place before the dissolution of Parliament in October, due to repeated cancellations and delays in the diaries of both Coffey and her successor Rebecca Pow.
As the world grapples with a climate emergency, the Tories are turning their backs on communities most at risk by failing to provide adequate flood defences. Their Brexit agenda risks the UK losing access to vital EU funds for improving flood defences and flood relief.
Over the lifetime of the next parliament, a Liberal Democrat government will create a £5bn flood prevention and adaptation fund. The fund will help the UK build resilience against future flooding, and ensure all communities can access the funds they need during periods of crisis.
A Liberal Democrat government will also increase DEFRA's budget by £1bn per year, ensuring that non-departmental bodies like the Environment Agency receive more funding.
Commenting, Layla Moran said:
“Proper investment in the flood defences of Oxford, Abingdon and surrounding villages is long overdue, and it’s a real shame that almost 6 months after I secured a debate on the floor of the House of Commons to hold the Tories to account, they have still failed to meet with me as promised.
“The Liberal Democrats, however, know that increased funding to help at-risk communities such as Abingdon, Oxford and surrounding villages including South Hinksey must be a top priority.
“The devastating flooding emergencies further north show just how important it is. If re-elected, I will continue to campaign to make the Abingdon Flood Alleviation Scheme a reality, and for concerns surrounding Oxford’s scheme to be addressed.”