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Energy companies criticised over slow flood response

January 8, 2014 8:42 PM
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Energy companies criticised over slow flood response

David Cameron has censured energy firms for not employing enough staff to cope with power outages caused by severe weather over the Christmas and New Year period.

The flooding which affected large parts of the UK was the first topic raised by Labour leader Ed Miliband during prime minister's questions on 8 January 2014.

Mr Miliband challenged him: "You will recognise some people felt the response time was too slow.

"In particular can you tell the House if it has become clear why it took so long for the energy distribution companies to restore power to homes over the Christmas period?"

He also said that "given the scale of the risk exposed by these floods and the expected impact of climate change", the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ought to report to the House by the end of January on future preparedness for flooding.

The prime minister replied: "Some of the energy companies did not have enough people over the holiday period for emergency response and I saw that for myself in Kent."

He agreed that Defra should report at the end of the month, and stated: "In this current four-year period we are spending £2.3bn, compared with £2.1bn in the previous period."

"Whenever there is flooding, it then makes sense to look again at the proposals that are in the programme for flood defence work to see what more can be done," he added.

Seven people died between 23 December and 5 January as a result of the bad weather and flooding.

Later exchanges between the two leaders focused on fixed-odds betting terminals, which were the subject of a three-hour debate later in the day.


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