Heavy rain over the weekend has brought with it the fear of flooding for many communities across Fylde. I know how worried many people get when the rain starts falling and the relentless deluge we experienced on Saturday and Sunday was a reminder of the need for action.
Wherever flooding happens it has an impact on lives and livelihoods, in homes, businesses and across our valuable agricultural land. It was worrying once again to hear of roads blocked, fields under water and homes and businesses affected. While the rain may have eased it will take much longer for the water to drain away. I know even when the floods have receded, for too many people in Fylde the worry will remain.
Last month I welcomed flooding Minister Rebecca Pow to Fylde and we had a good discussion about how surface water can be managed and our communities can be protected. This week I’ve followed up on that meeting asking that the Government deliver, in terms of investment and innovation, to ensure we are better protected in the future. In the meantime it is vital organisations, whether responsible for planning, flood prevention or roads, work together to minimise risk, something I’ll be impressing on them over the coming weeks.
Of course, the wild weather hasn’t just brought flooding and I’m sorry to see Lytham’s iconic windmill without its sails. I know Fylde Council is working hard to ensure the site is safe and to make the necessary repairs. The mill is a symbol of Lytham and of the Fylde and I hope it is not too long before it is looking its best once more.
In Westminster much of the focus of the past week has been on the budget. I was pleased to see a range of measures introduced which will help put money back in people’s pockets. Continued assistance, in the form of business rate relief, for our hospitality and leisure sector was most welcome and I know this will make a massive difference for many in Lytham, St Annes, Kirkham and beyond who are still finding their feet after a difficult 18 months.
Announced separately to the Budget but equally important was a £75m package to safeguard UK nuclear fuels production. Given Springfields is the only civil production site in the UK this is money which will directly benefit Fylde’s economy, helping sustain the plant until the next generation of nuclear power plants come online. At the same time I want to support diversification and took the opportunity to quiz the Chancellor on Government support to attract new business . I’m grateful he recognised my commitment to Springfields and the strategic importance of the site and is ready to work together to explore new opportunities.