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Fury at peer's 'wrong type of rain' comment

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

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Environment Agency claims that recent flooding is due to the "wrong type of rain" has been labelled an "insult" by a Westcountry MP whose constituency has been hard hit by floodwater.

Lord Chris Smith said areas of Britain were facing future problems due to climate change and a "new kind" of rain.

But his comments, made after he attended a 60th anniversary memorial service to those who died in 1953 floods in East Anglia, have drawn fierce criticism.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said they were an "insult to the intelligence" of his constituents.

Thousands of homes and businesses were damaged by floods last year, including across vast swathes of the South West, and eight people were killed when Britain suffered its second wettest year on record.

Lord Smith said: "Instead of rain sweeping across the country, we are getting convective rain, which sits in one place and just dumps itself in a deluge over a long period of time.

"From the point of view of filling up the rivers and the drains, that it is quite severe."

Furious campaigners have blasted the claims as "an insult to the intelligence" of flood victims and called for better flood defences and action from the Environment Agency.

Lord Smith's words were said to have been reminiscent of British Rail's infamous "wrong type of snow" excuse in 1991.

But Mr Liddell-Grainger said he "refused to be lectured" by Lord Smith and the Environment Agency should be doing a better job – or be closed.

He said: "It's like a railway company complaining of the wrong type of leaves and it's absolutely scandalous."

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