"Help Needed For Flood Repair & Recovery" Tim Farron
By Andrew Thomas in Westmorland Gazette
Tim Farron urges the Government to give funding and support to flood-hit South Lakeland
THE water may largely have gone and the weather taken a turn for the better, but as I visit places across South Lakeland it is clear that the effects of the flooding are very much still being felt, not least for those who have been forced to leave their homes.
As media focus shifts to 'new' news and government interest fades, our challenge is to hold the authorities' feet to the fire to ensure that South Lakeland gets the support it needs to recover and to help make our communities more resilient to flooding.
In the short-term, there is an urgent need to restore damaged infrastructure, while in the longer term we must look at comprehensive, whole-systems approaches to flood prevention. For far too long, the government has sought to make short-term savings at the expense of long-term investment which would have helped to provide protection from the floods.
The single biggest infrastructure challenge we face is the continued closure of the A591. Although the government has finally committed to undertake in full the required repairs, this crucial route connecting the north and south of the Lake District is due to remain closed until the end of May. Local business people expect thatthis could cost the local economy up to £100million. If this happens, businesses that rely on the tourist trade will go under, and with them the jobs they supported. I am urgently pushing for a solution that will provide relief for local businesses.