Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gilberdyke - One Year On From The Floods

One year on from the June 25th 2007 flooding much has been done and most flooded Gilberdyke residents are back in their houses, but unfortunately some are not. For many flood victims it has been a difficult year, and I share their concerns particularly when the rain starts to fall. Residents have told me they worry when they see the weather forecast or if the rain starts during the night.

In the aftermath of the flooding a Gilberdyke Flood Action Group was set up by the Parish Council and has been successful in accessing £7,800 of Government funding through the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. This money is being spent on commissioning consulting engineers to: Investigate and determine exactly what the drainage problems are in Gilberdyke before coming up with an action plan and recommendations to prevent future flooding in the village. Some works and essential maintenance have been carried out on the various watercourses and drainage dykes around the village since the flooding, although a lot more remains to be done. Relevant agencies have been encouraged to adopt regular timetables for continued maintenance and improvements.

The Consulting Engineers have already received a lot of valuable information from residents regarding the extent of the floods and the layout of the drainage systems in and around the village. It is intended that this information will be used as a basis for improving the existing drainage and to reduce the risk of flooding in the future. The group has already received a lot of valuable information from residents regarding the extent of the floods and the layout of the drainage systems in and around the village. It is intended that this information will be used as a basis for improving the existing drainage and to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

It is anticipated that the recommendations for future action will include the reopening of filled in dykes and watercourses particularly in Scalby Lane, Station Road, Westbrook Road/Crescent and surrounds. The contentious issue of Riparian Ownership of dykes and watercourses will have to be addressed.Questions continue to be raised with the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board (LOIDB) regarding the “ring fenced” monies being held for the maintenance of the pumps for pumping excess water from the dyke which takes some of the water from the M62 to the River Ouse.

I felt disappointed that the £1.4million application to Central Government was turned down leaving Gilberdyke in pretty much the same situation as before the floods. I also share the communities frustrations that the LOIDB are not able to use the ring fenced money for pumping the M62 water which flows through and contributes to the flooding in Gilberdyke, rather than just that water running down the one dyke to the west of the village.

Yorkshire Water must address the issue of surface water entering the foul water system, as even as late as January of this year the foul water sewers could not cope with the rainfall. “I was absolutely amazed by the consultation comments from Yorkshire Water on a recent planning application for 17 houses in the village. The company appeared to be unaware that 56 houses were flooded in Gilberdyke during last June’s flooding with some residents still not back in their houses, or that the sewers flooded again in January. I could not believe that Yorkshire Water’s planners did not know about these specific incidents or that their sewers flood on a regular basis, or that the school was closed for a week a year ago, not because of the building being flooded but because the school toilets could not be flushed as the sewers were full.

Some work has been done by the various agencies but much more is required to satisfy the concerns of Gilberdyke residents.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

David Davis' Principled Stand On Civil Liberties

Many people have asked about my thoughts on David Davis’ resignation from the Shadow Cabinet and the calling of the by-election here in Haltemprice and Howden.

I am not in favour of the proposed detention of 'terrorist suspects' for 42 days or even 28 days for that matter, but I am in favour of detaining 'terrorists' for 42 days, 42 years or even 142 years. The issue being someone suspected of being a terrorist without charge is very much different to someone being convicted of terrorism.

To put a man in jail for 6 weeks without him knowing why he is being held or what he’s been accused of is difficult to comprehend. Then he is released without charge (exactly what has happened to half of those who have been held for 28 days) imagine what would have happened to his reputation, his job and his family. I would not want this to happen to me - or anyone I know because of say ‘mistaken identity’.

Many associate terrorism with Islam and Muslim communities, strange then that a retired non-Muslim was accused of an act of terrorism when heckling the Prime Minister at a Labour Party conference.

A good friend working within the Prison Service put this into perspective recently when he said,

“Consider a young Muslim man accused of a terrorist act and in jail without charge for six weeks, whose only crime was to have the same name as another suspect. For six weeks he is held alongside convicted terrorists, he is subjected constantly to the rantings of these extremists, his family on the outside are ‘looked after’ by sympathisers. You can imagine this man may not have been a terrorist when first incarcerated but there is a likelihood he may well be on his release”.

I am also uncomfortable with the snooping society in which we live, not the CCTV camera’s that have been proven to reduce and help solve crime and anti-social behaviour – but all those cameras that are used to monitor our privacy and store information about us as we go about our daily lives. It’s not the cameras; it’s the people who have access to the information that worries me. I don’t really want this ‘Big Brother’ Government or Local Authorities to know everything I do, whom I meet, and where I go.

This also goes for ID cards; I carry photo identification most of the time anyway so the card is not the issue, it’s the information behind the card the Government is planning to hold that is the problem. I don’t want the Government to hold all my medical records, my travel records, my phone records, my email address (so they can snoop on any website I visit or email I send or receive) or my tax and spending records. Also would anyone want to put all this information in the trust of the Government for safekeeping? With its recent record in this area - I wouldn’t!

I have known David Davis for many years and respect him as a man of conviction and principle. I can fully support his actions in raising these issues by resigning from the Shadow Cabinet and precipitating this by-election. This is about halting the erosion of our civil liberties precipitated by Governments over the years, but particularly so with this present Government, who after much dithering, don’t even have the courage to put up a Labour candidate in order to present their case.

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