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Suffolk MP hits out at environment secretary in statement about the floods

PUBLISHED: 10:11 14 December 2013 | UPDATED: 10:11 14 December 2013

Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous.

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Suffolk MP Peter Aldous has hit out at environment secretary and known climate change sceptic Owen Paterson’s claims that last week’s floods were a freak event.

The Waveney MP has said it is wrong to dismiss the storm surges as a “once every 500 year” occurrence, warning they are likely to be a thing of the future.

Mr Paterson escaped making a planned urgent statement in the House of Commons on Monday, which would have required him to answer questions from the floor about the floods, because the debates were postponed to give way to MP tributes to Nelson Mandela.

He published a written statement on Tuesday in which he said: “The extreme conditions of last week put sea defences to their greatest test in 60 years. Some parts of the East Coast experience such circumstances only once every 500 years.”

The Tory, who believes MPs should be given the chance to publicly question ministers, has secured an adjournment debate on Wednesday.

He said: “It is wrong to dismiss these floods as a once in a 500-year occurrence.

“There were floods six years ago. I think with rising sea levels these are going to be a thing of the future and we do need to be looking at protecting the most vulnerable areas.”

He said Lowestoft district council had come up with a scheme which, if it had been in operation last week, would have prevented some of the damage.

It is not yet clear who will be called to respond to the questions.

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