South West MEP calls for increased EU cooperation on flood preparation know-how as Cornwall is struck again - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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South West MEP calls for increased EU cooperation on flood preparation know-how as Cornwall is struck again

Saturday, 27 November 2010
The South Western county of Cornwall has had more than its fair share of flooding in recent years. In August 2004 the village of Boscastle was nearly washed away, and then just last week the county was hit again by sudden heavy rainfall with rural towns such as Mevagissey very badly hit and many businesses fearing the damage will serious affect Christmas trade.

With the COP 16, United Nations Climate Change Conference meeting in Cancun, Mexico, this week it was somewhat timely that one of the South West region’s MEPs spoke in a debate on 'natural disasters in the EU' during the latest plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to call for increased cooperation amongst EU member states in order to learn how to best prepare for extreme weather conditions.

Conservative MEP Julie Girling, who before called to Brussels served as a Councillor in Gloucestershire (which itself was exceptionally badly hit by flooding in the summer of 2007), speaking on behalf of her political grouping, said: “I think that early warnings are important, but we all know how quickly the weather moves and how quickly the weather changes. I wonder if it is really a good use of money to put a lot into early warnings on weather, which are already really there”.

It is about what you do when you get the warnings. As Mr [Dirk] Sterckx (ALDE, BE) has said, Europe could certainly add a great deal of value by having a situation in which we could learn from each other," she told the Chamber (watch video).

I know in the case of Gloucestershire, where I came from, we were greatly helped after the floods by connections most particularly with Austrian regions, where they had major experience of flooding in highly elevated areas. We did not have that.

I think it would be a very good idea for the Commission to focus on setting up some regional connections so that we can learn from each other about how we cope with this, because it clearly is not going to go away,” she said.


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