Lib Dem MEP accuses Environment Agency of 'ganderflanking' over flooding response - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Lib Dem MEP accuses Environment Agency of 'ganderflanking' over flooding response

Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Sir Graham Watson, the South West Liberal Democrat MEP, has continued his battle to secure EU solidarity funding for the recent floods to the European Parliament chamber and in the process introduced an old English word originating from Wiltshire into the European lexicon.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday evening, Sir Graham accused the Environment Agency of ‘Ganderflanking’ over the response to persistent flooding over the past few years with a lack of action taken to dredge rivers, particularly on the Somerset levels. He also reiterated his calls for flood management powers to be devolved from the Environment Agency down to local drainage boards, made up of local farmers, businesses and experts.

Ganderflanking is an old English word for ‘moving around aimlessly’ that originates from Wiltshire, but is rarely used these days. There is currently a campaign for the word to be inserted into the Oxford English Dictionary and this was the first ever recorded use of the word in the European Parliament [I’d love to know how the live interpreters managed to translate this!]

In his speech, the Somerset-based MEP said: “I am working with my constituents to secure help from the Solidarity fund for the costs of the clean-up and urgent investment in water management schemes.

Sir Graham wrote to the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Flooding Minister Brandon Lewis last week, calling on the government to apply urgently for EU solidarity funding. Such funding is accessible to governments to use for repairs and rebuilding in the event of a natural disaster.

After the speech, he commented further: “This is a 'once in a hundred year event' that has happened two years running. It’s time to show the people most affected that their government - be it at local, national or European level - will listen and not stand idly by.
The growing unpredictability of the weather patterns is an early sign that with the onset of man-made climate change, such weather will become harder, not easier to predict and more, not less severe in its impact.


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