Column: We need to talk about ways we can mitigate flooding in Matlock
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Questions do need to be asked and actions do need to be taken to ensure that incidents like this do not happen again and I am in direct contact with ministers, DEFRA and local stakeholders, such as the Environment Agency, to address and tackle flooding issues head on.
I am so pleased that the flood wall repair works in Matlock had been finished by the Environment Agency, following joined-up work with central government and local government, and that the Environment Agency had their contractors, Jacksons, pumping water away in Matlock, because I dread to think what the flooding could have been like without these improvements.
I know this is little consolation to those whose homes flooded on Friday, but I am grateful for these actions as I do believe the whole area could have been terribly impacted without them.
I also want to thank the councils for their emergency response hubs and to our emergency services who have worked tirelessly across the whole of the county, in very dangerous conditions.
We need to have an open conversation about ways to mitigate flooding in the Matlock area and I am passionate about encouraging the district council to do the right thing and not build on the Wolds site at the top of Matlock.
One of the major contributors to flooding in our area is runoff from the higher ground in Matlock. What once was land that acted as a sponge, has now been tarmacked, concreted, and built on. This means the water only has one option, to flow downhill to lower ground where our Victorian drain system, which cannot be easily fixed, is overwhelmed.
This recent rainfall has proven again that the Gritstone Road site floods and clearly it is a nonsensical site for house building.
As I have done with previous administrations, I again call on the district council to do the right thing and take this site out of the local plan once and for all. The Gritstone Road development must be stopped, for the benefit of the whole of Matlock.