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Wave of fury over flood maps; 'Wrong to claim we are scaremongering'.

Byline: NEIL ATKINSON Head of News neil.atkinson@examiner.co.uk

A LEADING Kirklees councillor has accused one of his colleagues of "scaremongering". But Clr Robert Light said comments made by Clr David Ridgway over new flood RISK maps were "totally irresponsible". His comments came after Lib Dem Clr Ridgway described the new Environment Agency maps as scaremongering, "over the top" and "silly". The maps show areas of the region at RISK of surface water flooding and one of those considered at the greatest RISK is Marsden. But Clr Light, KirKlees' Tory Group leader and deputy chairman of the Environment Agency, said the maps were essential.

"Surface water flood maps have been produced for the whole country to enable better responses to flooding from councils and public agencies in the future. "For the KirKlees area they have been developed by the Environment Agency and KirKlees Council and for the first time ever provide a compressive assessment of the flooding RISK faced by many local communities. KirKlees Council is responsible for all surface water flooding within the council area and the Environment Agency is responsible for flooding from river water. Over the last two years hundreds of properties have been flooded due to the extreme weather conditions across different parts of the UK. The majority of the properties flooded over the last two years have been flooded by surface water, for example in Todmorden in 2012. "Councils need to step up to their responsibilities and individual councillors need to understand their responsibilities too.

"KirKlees Council has WORKED effectively with the Environment Agency to produce the flood maps and now the Administration has the responsibility to ensure the RISKs identified are mitigated where possible and plans to manage any potential surface water flooding drawn up. "Marsden is a Key area of concern and residents need to be aware of the RISKs. At a time when many people across the country have seen their homes and businesses flooded, it is totally irresponsible for someone LIKE Clr Ridgway to dismiss this WORK as scaremongering. "He is failing in his duties as a councillor to the people of Marsden by not TAKING this matter seriously.

"The Environment Agency is not scaremongering, it is merely MAKING the evidence available in a usable format, and in fact, the maps are the property of KirKlees Council."

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| AT RISK: The maps showing risk of River Colne flooding around Leeds Road (left) and Marsden (right). Below: Clr Robert Light (S)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 1, 2014
Words:412
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