Anna Lo MLA said: “The recent incidents of serious flooding have been of great concern to all, and I would like to record my gratitude to all those who worked to minimise the risk of flooding.
“The Alliance Party believes the seriousness of future flooding is likely to increase as a direct result of climate change. Some politicians want to ignore and deny climate change. The fact is, the disruption to our climate is happening. The records tell us this – with wetter winters over the last 50 years. The change in our climate is not up for debate. A changing climate is a serious issue that has dramatic social, economic and environmental implications for our society. To deny this, is in my view, both irresponsible and wrong.
“As every piece of evidence suggests that we will face more extreme weather, we really need to ensure our approach is as strategic and coherent as possible. It is for this reason that a Northern Ireland Climate Change Bill is essential if we are to reduce our carbon footprint.
“However, flooding is a natural phenomenon that cannot be entirely eliminated, so we need to start thinking about what more can be done to minimise the consequences.
“We need a clearly defined agency that will take the lead in co-ordinating relief work in all future incidents of extreme weather. We must also look to evaluate the effectiveness of our flood defences and determine where investment is needed. We must ensure that funding is provided for this work otherwise we will have to spend more to deal with the devastating consequences of extreme weather.”
Alliance Motion: Climate Change and its Impact on Flooding
‘That this Assembly notes the recent incidents of serious flooding; expresses its gratitude to emergency services, public workers and volunteers who worked hard to minimise the impact of the flooding; believes that the seriousness of future flooding is likely to increase as a direct result of climate change; calls for the executive to reduce Northern Ireland’s environmental footprint, and consequently, its contribution to climate change; and further calls on the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister to initiate a holistic overhaul of flood mitigation policies including; a cross-departmental approach to emergency planning, placing a single agency in charge of co-ordinating relief, an audit of the effectiveness of current flood defences so that investment can be targeted effectively, improvement of the flood warning system and a single funding stream for flood defences and coastal erosion.’