BRITAIN’S climate change minister is heading for Hampshire to assess the impact of the winter floods.
Greg Barker will be joined on the fact finding tour of Romsey by the town’s Conservative MP Caroline Nokes.
During his visit on June 9 the minister will call in at the Environment Agency’s office in Canal Walk and will be looking at areas that were flooded.
Large swathes of the Greatbridge area of the town including the industrial estate were flooded in early February after the River Test burst its banks sending huge volumes of water into homes and businesses.
The Budds Lane area was the worst affected along with the aptly named Romsey World of Water and the main Romsey to Stockbridge road was closed at Greatbridge for several weeks.
The Army and the Navy were drafted in to shore up flood defences across the town after the banks of the River Test were breached and they were helped by Environment Agency staff, firefighters and Test Valley Borough Council staff. Thousands of sandbags were used and a special boom was built across the A3075 at Greatbridge to prevent floodwater getting into the town centre.
Ms Nokes, who has questioned the ability of Romsey’s aging drainage system to cope with heavy rainfall, said: “I think it is critical the minister has a chance to see how significantly Romsey was impacted from Christmas onwards. We certainly need to have some investment in flood defences around Romsey, including looking at the Causeway which provides the critical access to the pumping station. I think funding is absolutely critical and I want the minister to see how badly the town was affected and listen to what organisations like the Environment Agency thinks needs to be done to prevent a future recurrence.”
A yet-to-be-published report on the flooding was commissioned by Hampshire County Council.
The climate change minister has praised Hampshire County Council for the way the authority tackled the flooding following his visit to Winchester and Hambledon earlier this month.
In a letter to Hampshire’s leader Roy Perry, Mr Barker said: “Your multi-agency approach provided a text book response. These involved taking the practical steps like the cat-flap at Romsey to safeguard vulnerable properties.”