There have been 4 exchanges between Edward Miliband and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|Mon 10th February 2020||Flood Response||3 interactions (159 words)|
|Thu 30th January 2020||Flooding: South Yorkshire (Westminster Hall)||12 interactions (2,041 words)|
|Wed 1st May 2019||Environment and Climate Change||7 interactions (1,600 words)|
|Wed 13th March 2019||UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union||3 interactions (103 words)|
(7 months, 3 weeks ago)Commons Chamber
I certainly join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to the hard-working staff of the EA and all those involved in the response to this emergency. They do a tremendous job, and they need our support in very difficult circumstances.
I am more than happy to look at this, but I would emphasise that there are many successful examples of where funding has been sought from a range of sources, including businesses, which has led to very successful results, including in Sheffield and South Yorkshire.
(8 months ago)Westminster Hall
The hon. Gentleman makes an important point—one that I referred to earlier in my speech.
On the Government’s response to the crisis, the Prime Minister might have visited during the election, but he is yet to hold the flood summit that he committed to, so I ask that he make good on his promise.
I have numerous questions for the Government on helping flood victims in Barnsley and across South Yorkshire. First, will the Government commit to additional funding to support flood-damaged communities? Hundreds of households and businesses are struggling to make ends meet, and local roads and infrastructure need immediate attention. In the short term, capital funding is urgently required, from the £3 million requested by the Doncaster and Sheffield City Region Mayors to the potential resources from the EU solidarity fund or alternative Government funds, so that the ongoing effects of the floods can be dealt with. Will the Government reconsider the match funding of the South Yorkshire community fund?
Secondly, will the Government invest significantly in the coming months and years to prevent flood events such as November’s, which caused such great devastation? It means acting now to mitigate flood risk, rather than employing a sticking-plaster approach that barely deals with the damage that floods cause. Sustained investment in flood protection over the long term should be made available so that councils have the resources they need to undertake flood prevention works. It will require serious investment.
Thirdly and finally, will the Prime Minister honour his commitment to hold a flood summit that brings together regional partners and stakeholders, as well as the relevant Secretary of State, mayors and local MPs? We need to reflect on the lessons learned from the past few months and come up with a multi-agency strategy with aligned investment to plan for the future. The cameras might have stopped rolling, but to the people of Barnsley and South Yorkshire, the effects of the floods continue to be a daily reality.
On the Flood Re scheme that was introduced to try to deal with the problem of people who could not access insurance because they had previously been flooded, is it not time now to have a proper review of how the scheme is working, because several groups are not covered by it? It has not helped some of my hon. Friend’s constituents at all.
There is a double pleasure for me in being here this afternoon, Mr Davies—first in serving under your chairmanship and secondly in speaking for the first time from the Front Bench as the new shadow Minister for fisheries, water, coastal communities and flooding.
There may not have been many speakers in this debate, but I am sure you will agree, Mr Davies, that the calibre of the debate has been extremely high. We heard clearly and eloquently from my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley East (Stephanie Peacock) about the impact in her constituency and across South Yorkshire of the floods that took place three months ago. Most of us in this place spent November 2019 knocking on doors in the coldest, most miserable general election in recent memory. However, my hon. Friend and her constituency neighbours knew it as a time of heartache, pain and loss for many in that part of the world. My right hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster North (Edward Miliband), whose knowledge and expertise in the area of environment and climate change is unparalleled, made a wide-ranging and comprehensive contribution to today’s debate. I trust that the Minister will take on board his points of concern.
We heard today about the more than 1,000 homes and 565 businesses affected by the floods, and the fact that many roads, bridges, train lines and stations were closed. Like my colleagues, I want to take the opportunity to extend my best wishes to all those who have been affected, and my warmest thanks to the emergency services and all the local authority staff across South Yorkshire who stepped up and provided much-needed support and assistance to those in need. They saved lives, property and communities, and they deserve the appreciation and thanks of Members from across the House.
I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Dame Diana Johnson), who is no longer in her place, for the important point she made about the emotional and mental stress that affects victims following flooding incidents. I agree wholeheartedly with the point that she made. There is an emotional impact to flooding, and the NHS must have the resources to provide the support that people may need.
The biggest obstacle to providing a proper flood strategy for South Yorkshire and the UK more generally is the fact that the Government just do not seem to take flooding and its consequences seriously. To restore trust for the people of South Yorkshire a joined-up approach is required, across regional water authorities, local government and regulators, to provide a single flood plan for an area to manage flood risk and better co-ordinate the response to flooding. There is a climate emergency in this country and across our planet. We see it every day and we hear from our constituents about it every day. Our planet is getting warmer and the chance and frequency of extreme and deadly weather events and patterns increases day by day. Her Majesty’s Opposition will continue to make the case for Britain to be more prepared, as we can be through habitat restoration and by returning floodplain to a more natural state. That would help to prevent the risk of flooding and allow floodplain to absorb more water. That point was made by the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Alexander Stafford) earlier in the debate.
Break in Debate
I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention. I have listed a very large range of packages that were swung into action. Perhaps her councils are still discussing and talking to our officials about those, and I recommend that they continue to do so. I commend her local people for raising the money, and she can write to me about that afterwards, but I think that at the moment that matched funding stands, as it says, up to the value of £1 million.
I will carry on, because I want to talk about Flood Re, which was raised earlier and is an important issue. Flood Re was launched in 2016 to improve the availability and affordability of household insurance for people who live in high flood risk areas, and it has made an enormous difference. Flood Re was set up as a result of learning from what had happened in previous flooding situations, when people reported that they could not get the right insurance. Indeed, many people from my own area of Somerset fed into the setting up and the working of Flood Re.
In the 2018-19 financial year, Flood Re reinsured more than 164,000 household policies, and 250,000 properties have benefited since its launch. Before its introduction, only 9% of householders who had made prior flood claims could get quotes from two or more insurers, as was commonly highlighted, and none were able to get quotes from five or more. However, since October 2017, after the setting up of Flood Re, the availability has improved so that 100% of households could get quotes from two or more insurers, while 93% could get quotes from five or more. By May 2019, 95% of those with flood claims could choose from at least 10 insurers, with 99% receiving quotes from five or more, which shows that the system is working.
The right hon. Member for Doncaster North mentioned some people reporting that they are unable to get insurance, and there are anecdotal reports that there was no flood insurance in Fishlake, Bentley and Doncaster. The Secretary of State announced a review into what happened there, why it was not available and all those things, and I look forward to its findings. We want Flood Re to function effectively, so I am happy to meet colleagues to go over issues about how it is working and how to make it work better.
I recommend that hon. Members go to MHCLG themselves to raise this issue. I have put my case for the amount of finance coming through in the flood recovery package. I will leave that there, but I am listening to what hon. Members say, and I commend the people raising the money.
The Government have absolutely committed to investing in flood risk, to the tune of £2.6 billion, and continue to play a key role in protecting the people affected. Talking about MHCLG, the right hon. Gentleman raised new houses on flood plains and the increase in flooding risk, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Alexander Stafford). Planning authorities are responsible for giving the go-ahead for new housing, and they always seek Environment Agency advice on all these things, but planning also comes under MHCLG.
(1 year, 5 months ago)Commons Chamber
This debate really matters. It matters to the hundreds of thousands of people across our great nation and the world. This is the mother of all Parliaments. This is the country that had the first industrial revolution. It is our moral responsibility to come together as a Parliament and show the leadership that people across the world rightly expect of us. We today should be building on the radical political consensus that was achieved back in 2008, which brought all parties in the House together and gave any Minister standing at the Dispatch Box legally binding targets on reducing emissions.
I am confident, given the actions taken, that this Secretary of State and this Government will respond positively, enthusiastically and responsibly to the guidance they will receive tomorrow, which will set out why we need to move to net zero carbon by 2050 or sooner. We need today to put petty political point scoring to one side, recognise what this country has achieved and share that ambition to do more and faster.
Like every other Member, I know from going around my constituency that all parts of society we represent—whether schoolchildren, members of the women’s institute or the business community—are asking us to do more. They are also asking us what more they can do. This is about what not only we in this place do, but what our whole country will do—what businesses, public services and people will do. I know that people want to do the right thing, but sometimes they do not know what to do.
I want to make one simple point today, by sharing the great work of Luci Isaacson and Climate Vision in my constituency. Back in 2009, she set up a simple 10-pledge challenge. She got 10 local ambassadors in Truro to recruit a whole team of us to make simple changes in our lives over four months, and between us, we saved more than 3,000 tonnes of CO2. It was not virtue signalling or running out and buying the most expensive new electric vehicle. It was simple things that we can all do, like switching energy provider, which saves money as well as CO2, or eating local, in-season produce and walking more often—all sorts of practical things that save us money, make us feel better and contribute to our local economy.
I set a challenge to every Member of the House today. I know they care very much about this issue and that many of them are riding bicycles and taking all sorts of action in their communities. I ask them to go to my website, look up the work of Climate Vision and make one of those pledges or all 10 of them, so that today we can all commit to reducing our own emissions. We are all leaders in our communities, and we can support and encourage everyone who wants to play their part and make a difference. They can use #10PledgeChallenge, so that together we can send out a strong message that as individual leaders, policy makers and Members of this mother of all Parliaments, we get it, and we are stepping up to the greatest challenge that we will face in our lifetimes.
I make a very quick intervention just to say that my right hon. Friend does not need to apologise, because he did write the emissions trading scheme when he was very much part of a Labour Government beforehand.
The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right on China; it is vital that people understand this. The Chinese are moving ahead very fast. He and his colleagues, and the former Foreign Secretary Lord Hague, were crucial in making sure that the Foreign Office was engaged in climate change diplomacy, persuading the Chinese that the fall in the cost of renewables, particularly solar, made them affordable and that the health benefits of reducing air pollution made them really attractive to their population. The change in the mood in China could be the change in the mood across the world. We need to learn from China, support it and make those points.
(1 year, 6 months ago)Commons Chamber
I understand what the right hon. Gentleman is saying, but the Government’s position is not a matter for me. I say as a matter of pride that I have never been a member of a Government; that has never been part of my ambition. I must say that it is a lot easier to be Speaker than to be a Minister. My responsibility is to consider amendments if they are tabled. If Members want to table amendments to the Government’s motion, they may do so. I rather imagine, from what the right hon. Gentleman has said, that he will want to do so.
Okay. No, the Prime Minister is not seeking to raise a point of order at this stage.