Rory Stewart MP, the Prime Minister’s newly-appointed Floods Envoy for Cumbria and Lancashire, has spent time visiting flooded communities in Shap and Maulds Meaburn, meeting with residents and business owners to discuss local damage caused by the recent floods. He said he was keen to make sure that as a Minister he saw rural communities who had been effected but which had been less in the news during the flooding. This follows recent visits to see the floods in communities such as Grasmere and Warcop.
Residents gathered to chat to Rory as he held the floods ’surgeries’ in the Shap Chippy supported by local Eden District Councillor John Owen, and at the Maulds Meaburn Village Institute supported by Eden District Councillor Joan Raine. The meetings were the latest in a series of visits that Rory has made, overlapping his role as constituency MP with that of Floods Envoy.
Rory used the meetings to consider the localised issues in both areas, resolving in Shap to help broker a more open and positive dialogue between the community and Network Rail, and in the Lyvennet Valley introducing an Environment Agency official to the community representatives, who has resolved to take concerns around the meander and weir of the river back to the Agency for further investigation.
The surgeries followed the second meeting of the Cumbria Floods Partnership in Cockermouth, where River Catchment Directors were announced as part of the catchment-based investigations and resilience work to be done as part of the Partnership’s remit.
Rory said: “It is important that no single community, wherever they are in the county or country, feels as if they are being ignored. The Environment Agency has worked very hard to visit as many flooded homes and businesses as possible, and we are trying very hard to address all the local issues that are raised in these meetings. Nobody knows these rivers better, than our local communities do. I am very pleased that a Catchment Director, Jim Ratcliffe, has been appointed, and Jim will be able to support in feeding specific, localised information back into the Cumbria Floods Partnership, so ensure that the right resilience measures are put in place.”
Rory has also successfully brought about the positive dialogue between the Environment Agency and Warcop Parish Council following his recent visit there, resulting in the parish council being permitted to carry out maintenance works as part of the efforts to reduce water levels.