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Farron: A591 Must Be 'National Strategic Priority'

January 5, 2016 10:11 PM

A591Tim Farron MP has today called in the House of Commons for the government to show a renewed sense of urgency in dealing with the problems caused by flooding in South Lakeland, calling in particular for a solution to the A591 closure.

In a debate in the Commons today, Tim argued that the effects of the flooding are still being felt across Cumbria, and called on the government to act quickly to help the residents and businesses affected. In particular, Tim highlighted the case of the A591, which was destroyed by flooding near Dunmail Raise. Whilst a temporary solution has been found to enable students to go to school, this crucial route remains closed to the public. Although Environment Secretary Liz Truss confirmed that this is a "national priority" which Highways England are working on, she did not respond to Tim's request for the government to announce a predicted timescale for the reopening.

Tim also called on the government to commit more broadly to providing the rest of the funds that Cumbria needs to rebuild the infrastructure damaged by flooding. Although the government has committed to providing £40m towards this, the total cost of repairing damaged infrastructure has been estimated at around £500m.

Finally, Tim called on the government implement comprehensive, whole-system flood prevention schemes, including the government's shelved flood prevention scheme on the River Kent. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently had its budget cut by 15%.

Tim said: "It is essential that the government continue to take seriously the problems which have been caused by the floods.

"The impact on residents and businesses has already been severe, and the government must act with urgency to provide relief. The A591 is essential both to local residents and to the tourist industry, and a solution must be found as soon as possible. The government should be clear about the timescale for this project so that local businesses are able to plan ahead effectively.

"The government must also overturn budget cuts which mean that important flood defence schemes such as the one for the River Kent are not implemented. In the long run, these schemes save far more money than the initial outlay they incur, and they must be given the funding they need."