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KCC Budget Brings New County Flood Risk

February 20, 2014 2:21 PM

Yalding Floods taken by Brian Clark

During the Kent County Council budget debate last Thursday the Liberal Democrat team exposed a sting in the tail for KCC's flood management capability.

It has emerged that staff cuts are to be made in the same emergency planning department which has been struggling to meet demands of people affected by recent flooding. Councillor Brian Clark has called on the Conservative running County Hall to think again

Conservatives at Kent county Council have decided to remove 2 senior emergency planners from KCC's emergency planning team and completely restructure the department. The changes will bring about £51,000 in combined savings to KCC. However, since Christmas the existing team has been stretched to the limits with the recent storm damage and flooding. Records show a large part of the team have been working 50% more hours than planned during this time.

As a backdrop, the number of serious incidents has risen from 93 in 2010 to 311 in 2013. So far in 2014 the team has already handled over 200 incidents, mainly relating to flood and severe weather alone. Considering the huge problems facing Kent since the budget was planned, and given the Prime Minister's promise of funds to tackle the flooding problems, surely this is not the time to make major cuts in this area.

After the budget review, County Councillor Brian Clark said, "Based on the serious ongoing problems we have in Kent, is it really the right time to make these cuts? With recent activity and availability of funds from number 10, the county should instead be looking to secure extra funding for emergency planning"