Environment secretary claims defences saved Northampton from floods

Environment secretary Owen Paterson visits Billing Aquadrome
Environment secretary Owen Paterson visits Billing Aquadrome

The environment secretary has claimed Northampton town centre was saved from serious flooding by new defences.

Owen Paterson MP visited Northampton on Friday to look at the town’s flood defences and tour Billing Aquadrome, which has been badly hit by floods this week.

During his visit, the environment secretary said that without the flood defences built around the edges of Northampton over the past few years, the town centre would also have been badly flooded.

He said: “I’m very impressed with Northampton’s flood defences. It’s really shocking that two people died in the floods in Northampton in 1998 and thousands more had to be moved out of the town centre.

“There’s no doubt that the new flood defences have prevented something like that happening again.”

Discussing the flooding at Billing Aquadrome he added: “Flooding is incredibly traumatic for people who are affected, people have had their lives totally disrupted.

“But thankfully Northampton town centre has gone unscathed. I’m delighted to see the flood defences have worked so well, but I offer my sympathies to those people who have had to move out of their homes.”

He was backed by the leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) who toured Billing Aquadrome with the MP.

He said: “The flood defences have worked really well. Although this is the second time in a few months that we’ve had to evacuate people from Billing Aquadrome, so we have to see what can be done about that.”