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David Cameron calls in Worcestershire council leader for flooding talks
PRIME Minister David Cameron wanted to know how Worcestershire has coped with soaring river levels – by having talks with the county council’s leader.
Councillor Adrian Hardman went to Downing Street on Wednesday night to see the PM at Number 10.
Your Worcester News can also reveal how Mr Cameron particularly wanted to know how Upton-upon-Severn has coped with flooding, with concerns over the 2007 crisis still in his memory.
Coun Hardman told the premier how vital it was to avoid cuts to Environment Agency funding, telling him one of the reasons why Worcestershire coped better this time around was because of the body’s work.
Around 1,500 jobs are being slashed by the agency, including front-line emergency flooding staff, by October due to cuts in Government funding.
During a full council meeting yesterday, Labour Councillor Luke Mallett asked Coun Hardman if he was worried about “ill conceived and ill-timed” cuts to cash for the body.
Coun Hardman said: “That’s a very good question, and was something I actually raised with the Prime Minister when I was able to talk to him at Downing Street last night.
“He was most interested in how the flooding had been going, particularly in Upton, and I was able to assure him that while it was a very close run thing, we didn’t have the kind of experience we got in 2007.
“I told him this was largely down to close working with the Environment Agency and stressed that it was absolutely key that there is investment in more flood mitigation measures across the county.”
Mr Cameron visited Upton in July 2007 when floods wrecked the town.
During December and the early parts of this month county swollen river levels have caused concern across Worcestershire, leading to flooding in hotspot zones like New Road cricket ground in Worcester.
Five days ago some barriers were taken down in areas like Upton and Bewdley which have protected hundreds of homes.
But several roads have been blocked by flooding in recent weeks and warnings have remained in place at several locations, including in Court Meadow, Kempsey and in Callow End.
The Environment Agency employs 11,250 people nationwide but says it plans to reduce that to 9,700 by October.
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