Flooding trip to Netherlands

Neil joined MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee on a trip to the Netherlands to learn more about Dutch action to prevent floods.

The visit was part of the Select Committee Inquiry, chaired by Neil, on future flood prevention in the UK. Following severe flooding in parts of northern England around Christmas in 2015, MPs launched an inquiry into how floods can be better prevented and their impacts managed. The visit provided evidence for the inquiry on how the Netherlands copes with the flood risk which threatens some 11 million Dutch people.

MPs and committee specialists saw first-hand how the Dutch manage water levels in their low-lying country. They saw how techniques such as channel maintenance, pumping and dredging can reduce flooding risk.

The MPs were greeted by Henk Ovink – the Netherlands’ Special Envoy for International Water Affairs. Mr Ovink is in charge of sharing the Netherlands’ expertise on flooding and dealing with issues like water safety and flooding logistics.

Neil said:

Two thirds of the Dutch population and half of this low-lying country is at risk from flooding from rivers or the sea. The Dutch public takes flood risk very seriously and significant sums are invested in protecting people. It was great to visit key projects across the Netherlands to see how Dutch flood management works in practice.

“Whether it is creating a wider floodplain on the river Waal, developing resilient buildings such as floating homes in Amsterdam, or building with nature to integrate homes and wetlands in Dordrecht, the Dutch have taken many innovative approaches to adapt to flood risk. England and the Netherlands face very different flooding challenges, with different solutions needed. But we want to see what lessons there could be for English policy-makers from Dutch projects such as the “Making room for the river” and the Delta programmes.”