Comment ‘An insult to my intelligence’
Runnymede: Residents furious at county councillor’s on-air claim that God was responsible for this year’s flood devastation
A SURREY county councillor has come under fire for suggesting that God caused the floods earlier this year. The flooding in January and February caused devastation to the Herald region, leaving many families homeless and some facing this Christmas still not back in their own homes. The councillor responsible for control of flooding, John Furey, angered affected residents this week when he suggested ‘the guy up there’ had been responsible for the floods in a BBC News report into those who are still homeless, which aired on Monday evening.
In the report, Cllr Furey, from Addlestone, said: “The flooding is something I wasn’t in control of. “It happened by the guy up there. He delivered it.” He said it had been the longest period that the area had flooded since the 1947 deluge, which lasted for two weeks, as opposed to the three months of continual rain experienced earlier this year. Elaine Morris, of Ayebridges Avenue, Thorpe Lea, was among those whose property was flooded and while it was just her garden that suffered, some of her neighbours have still not returned home. She said she was outraged by Cllr Furey’s comments and that he had ‘no concept’ of why her road flooded, which many believed was due to blocked culverts in Thorpe flooding the Mead Lake Ditch, which runs behind her home. “His comments, that ‘God’ caused the floods, are an insult to my intelligence.” Tracy Taylor’s home of more than 40 years in Eastworth Road, Chertsey, was flooded when the River Bourne burst its banks. She has been living in temporary accommodation in Hounslow since then but is due to be rehoused in a new property in Addlestone, allocated by Runnymede Borough Council, before Christmas.
Several of the council’s properties were deemed too expensive to repair. She said: “John Furey needs a huge reality check if he thinks God is to blame. “What needs doing is lots of dredging, cleaning rivers, widening and deepening them where possible. “All the top councillors need to start listening to the normal people as we seem to have a better clue than them. “I do, however, feel sorry for people still in Eastworth Road and other places, because it will all flood again and again.” Former Eastworth Road resident Alan Crombie said: “Yes, it might be the man upstairs but at the end of the day, it’s the council water board who is respon- sible for not maintaining the waterways.
“If they all did their jobs, to look after their voters and clean the drains and the rivers, then maybe some of the people wouldn’t have been affected.” The government announced earlier this month that a further £60 million would be invested in the Lower Thames scheme, a flood protection programme that is designed to help protect around 15,000 homes between Datchet in Berkshire and Teddington in south west London. The scheme forms part of the government’s National Infrastructure Plan, involving £2.3 billion of flood defences, of which the Thames Valley area will receive almost £300m in long-term investment to protect around 25,000 homes. Surrey County Council failed to comment as the Herald went to press.