‘Investment needed for flood defences’, says MP

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East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has called for investment in improved flood defences following New Year floods.

Speaking during an Assembly debate, he said: “The exceptional weather conditions over the new year period have highlighted the vulnerability of some of the coastal defences especially along the coast road and in Carnlough and Cushendall. It is clear investment is needed to repair the damage caused to the sea walls and the defences protecting the coast road.

“Clearly there is need for immediate remedial action and I would urge the Minister to apply for funds which should be available in the reallocation of money in the February review of the Executive’s finances. In the longer run, a comprehensive plan needs to be put in place for those places which have been shown to be vulnerable when tides are high and winds are strong.

“The fact is that we have experienced and will continue to experience extreme weather conditions as has happened frequently in the past. The difference nowadays is that we are building in riskier areas than would have been the case previously, some of our defences are old and out of date and events like these receive greater coverage than would have been the case in the past because of 24 hour news coverage.

“All of these factors mean that as a society we must invest more heavily in preventing damage from these events; indeed this might be a better use of resources than spending billions on reducing CO2 emissions in the false hope of stopping the changes in climate.”