News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
MEP tells EU to get its act together to fight climate change after recent flooding chaos in the region
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Liberal Democrat MEP for the South West Sir Graham Watson has called on the European Union to do more to prevent climate change to avert future occurrences of flooding as experienced in the region in November and over the Christmas period.
Late on Monday night in Strasbourg, Sir Graham delivered a one-minute speech in the European Parliament in response to the “very serious flooding in my constituency last month, involving costs of many millions of pounds and damage to the main railway line from London to the South West of England, and indeed damage to the Great Western Canal in Devon” and called for the EU “to hold a special conference and get its act together as to what will be needed to do this”.
“My main concern is that, in all of the work that we are doing to combat climate change in the European Union, we are looking at the impact and at how to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change outside the Union,” he said. “We are not looking at what climate change is doing within the Union, which is very much in line with what some of the scientists, particularly the Potsdam Institute, have been telling us to expect.”
Since 2012 was one of the wettest years on record, Sir Graham said: “we need to be adapting all of our policies, competition policy and other policies, to fight the impact of climate change that we are already seeing in the European Union.”
Sustained rainfall resulted in the mainline rail line from London to Exeter and Cornwall being blocked at Cowley Bridge (see image above) with the rail operator First Great Western even advising passengers not to travel at all. Coupled with severe disruption in places along the M5 and the A30/A303 main roads in and out of the region, the flooding cut the region off from the rest of the UK, causing damage to seasonal tourism and the local economy. Repairs to the Grand Western Canal are estimated to cost £3 million and it is hoped the work will be completed in time for the 200th anniversary of the opening of the canal next year.
Hailing from the truly beautiful South West region of the UK, Andrew now works in Brussels and is a UK passport holder, European citizen, and a twice employee at the European Parliament.
While the EU in its current form is far from perfect, he is nonetheless firmly of the belief that the UK's prosperity and place in the world is best served as a member state and not as an isolated bystander.
Since October 2009, this blog seeks to document the work that our region's MEPs do for us in Brussels. As such, predictably, it rarely features UKIP.