It has taken four long years since the flood waters subsided. We were promised a new rivers authority and we have one. But for the last three years the Somerset Rivers Authority has not had a secure way of funding itself. It relies instead of going cap in hand to government each year asking permission to raise a rate.
Now David Warburton has sponsored a new Bill that has started to go through the tortuous process of turning itself into law. The New “Rivers Authorities and Land Drainage Bill” will put Somerset Rivers Authority on a secure footing and give Somerset extra flood protection and resilience. It will give the authority powers to raise funds through a “rate” and if it makes it will be a welcome addition to the statute book.
The “if” though is because although the government support the Bill, it is a Private Members Bill and as such relies on getting enough debating time in both Houses of Parliament. With the amount of work on Brexit going on – that may yet prove to be a challenge too far.