Halsall Parish Council and Scarisbrick Parish Council are jointly hosting a public meeting on the 18th February at 7.30 pm, at the Memorial Hall in Halsall on the serious issue of long-term flooding facing the area. Members of the public will have the opportunity to put questions directly to local government representatives and other interested parties about what will happen when the Environment Agency (EA) ceases to be responsible for five local satellite pumping stations.
The meeting has been arranged in response to public concerns over the announcement by the EA, stating they will no longer fund and maintain the five Alt Crossens satellite pumping stations located at Rufford Causeway, Clay brow, Banks Marsh, Kew, and Boundary Brook after 2017. This means unless an alternative funding solution is found they will be turned off. The result of this decision could have devastating consequences across West Lancashire and parts of Sefton – increased flooding to homes and businesses as well as the impact on the agricultural economy.
Local Councillors representing Halsall and Scarisbrick, plus Lancashire County Councillors, a representative from the EA and the National Farmers Union (NFU) together with other interested parties are planning to attend the meeting.
The format will include a short presentation from Scarisbrick Parish Councillor (SPC), John Herbert on the current situation. John has wealth of knowledge on this matter and is the Lancashire Associations of Local Councils (LALC) advisor on the Alt-Crossens issue. He has also been secretary and chaired the Alt-Crossens Intermediate Drainage Group (a LALC initiative).
Borough and Lancashire County Cllr. John Hodson, portfolio holder for Planning at West Lancashire Borough Council will be speaking on their current position. There will also be a presentation by Alice Richards from the NFU who will talk about some of the options available going forward.
Following the presentations there will be a ‘question time’ open forum to provide plenty of time for members of public to put questions to the guest speakers and the rest of the panel, which will include Borough and Lancashire County Cllr. Cynthia Dereli, Borough Cllr’s Doreen Stephenson (Halsall) and Jane Marshall (Scarisbrick), and Dave Oakes, SPC (formerly of the EA and NFU).
Both Parish Councils are looking forward to a strong turnout. Brian Young, Chairman of Halsall Parish Council said: “Our Parish Councils have been extremely pro-active since this announcement by the EA. They have set up working groups, lobbied councilors, government ministers and the EA, to look into the options available. The fact is, this area could be facing a huge crisis if these pumps are allowed to be turned off. Taking into account the recent flooding issues across the area which have occurred while these pumps are still in operation, to stand back and do nothing is just not an option. If ignored the effects will be devastating.”
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