People should not suffer due to indecision of authorities

STEVE CANAVAN: Take note of why I love this country so much

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It seems that after two months of relentless battering from the elements, those affected by flooding can finally start to breathe a little easier.

The sandbags and pumps that have become an integral part of everyday life will eventually be removed and for all but the worst affected, it should soon become a bad memory.

Until the next time it happens.

There can be no denying that weather patterns previously deemed unusual are becoming the norm, so it would be foolish to pretend that something like this couldn’t happen again.

Obviously no-one is realistically putting their head in the sand about the future, but the problem lies in what action should be taken.

And with thousands more homes heading for the area in coming years – with the West of Waterlooville development and the proposed town of Welborne between Fareham and Wickham – it’s no surprise people are worried.

Much debate has centred on coastal versus inland and urban versus rural.

There has also been a great deal of playing the blame game, with local authorities, central government and the Environment Agency all pointing fingers.

In the meantime it has been the people directly affected – homeowners, businesses, farmers and so on –who are left not knowing what will happen to them.

Fortunately most people are generous at times of adversity and are willing to help friends and neighbours, but those affected shouldn’t have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that money would be no object when it came to protecting homes and livelihoods from floods.

It will certainly be interesting to see how far he is willing to take that now that the situation is calming down. What it may be politically expedient to say in times of strife can come back to haunt politicians later.

It is clear that money is an issue, particularly as many authorities and agencies are undergoing cuts.

There needs to be a long, hard look at flood defences and it needs to be done with calm, rational heads.