The Green Party – Ten measures to improve the UK’s flood resilience, and to address the underlying causes of flooding
1. Reverse staff cuts at the Environment Agency (EA), increase its budget, and drop plans to impose a duty on it to consider economic growth, which could get in the way of providing independent expert advice
2. Strengthen planning rules for urban and rural areas to prevent further development on flood plains and ensure developers prioritise flood resilience and prevention – including through incorporation of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) in new developments as well as a programme of retrofitting SUDS to existing communities. Ensure better transparency of decisions so public can hold decision makers accountable
3. Get rid of any cabinet Ministers or senior governmental advisors who refuse to accept the scientific consensus on climate change or who won’t take the risks to the UK seriously
4. Increase spending on flood defences to a level in line with expert recommendations from the EA and the Climate Change Committee (CCC), change the cost benefit ratios required for projects to go ahead, and simplify the process for local authorities to apply
5. Rethink land management policies to encourage the storage of water in upland areas, and make flood prevention is a non-negotiable condition of all farm subsidies
6. Improve UK’s future resilience: Adopt proposals for the immediate creation of a new Cabinet-level committee on infrastructure and climate change resilience , and a Royal Commission to set out the long-term impacts of climate change on land, making detailed recommendations as to the necessary institutional, funding and policy responses
7. Start paying attention to advice from the Met Office and the CCC that climate change will lead to even more such events in the future.
8. As called for by Platform London and other campaigners, redirect the billions of UK fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks into assisting the victims of flooding. This would free up money to address the underspend and assist the victims of flooding, as well as putting a halt to public money exacerbating the problem of climate change that is making the floods so much worse.
9. Tackle the undue influence of big business in Whitehall and Westminster – end the revolving door between the fossil fuel industry and government
10. Step up the UK’s action on climate change, for example by committing to a binding EU-target on renewables