Local Democracy Weekly: Apologies and anger over Wainfleet flooding

Passion, or more likely anger, is standing in a baking hot community hall for nearly four hours demanding answers from those in charge over what went wrong.

That was the scene in Wainfleet as residents expressed their dismay at the events on June 12 onwards.

The meeting, which was due to end at 7pm went on until 9.30pm as it became clear those questioning the Environment Agency, the Drainage Boards and the councils felt they had been ignored for a number of years.

It began with an apology from the MP Matt Warman and others.

“De-silt the rivers” came the cry from the audience. “That wouldn’t have helped” came the EA’s response.

Of those I spoke to after, it was clear people remain unconvinced by the answers and efforts going forward – which included an independent review, extra funding for the area, and promises of closer working with residents.

And why should they be? We’ve been here before – Louth and Horncastle in 2007, Boston in 2013 – and each time residents have contested the experts’ opinions with local knowledge.

I remember sitting in the public inquiry into the now near-completed Boston Barrier shortly after the 2013 floods, listening to Boston fishermen argue their case for it being in the wrong location and needing a lock built in – again feeling ignored by those in charge.

As in many cases the problem is money, with agencies forced to prioritise the money they spend – a lock on the barrier costs extra, de-silting lower priority waterways as well as higher maintenance ones needs more cash.


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