A group of cross party MPs has called for fire and rescue services in England to be given greater funding to respond to flooding incidents.
In a report investigating flood management in England, the environment, food and rural affairs select committee warn that continued pressure on resources could risk the fire and rescue service’s ability to deliver a high standard response.
They recommend that the government give fire and rescue services a statutory duty to respond to flooding.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the recommendations for a statutory duty to be placed on the fire and rescue service around flood rescue in England. We have been pushing for a statutory duty for nine years, during which time the flood threat has become increasingly severe. Scotland and Northern Ireland have a statutory duty for flooding, and it’s time for Westminster to follow their lead.
“As today’s report makes clear, the fire and rescue service was the primary emergency responder during the 2015-16 winter floods, providing 70% of the boats used for rescues, although there is no duty upon the service to do so. A statutory duty would secure the additional funding and staff resources to do the job properly and ensure that effective, adequate flood response can be relied upon this winter and the public kept safe.”
It is another victory for the FBU who have long campaigned for the flooding duty. It comes after the Labour party made it a manifesto commitment ahead of the 2015 general election.
Wrack appeared before the environment select committee in August to give evidence about the work that firefighters do at flooding incidents.