Graham Watson MEP
Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for South West England and Gibraltar
A local champion with an international reputation
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Published on Tuesday 15th January 2013
A leading MEP who represents the Westcountry and Chairman of a global network of politicians campaigning to halt climate change has raised the severe flooding that took place in November and December in the chamber of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
As part of a speech calling on the European Commission to act faster to tackle the affects of climate change, Sir Graham highlighted the collapse of the Great Western Canal in Mid Devon and the severe disruption to rail lines linking the South West to London.
After the speech, Sir Graham commented:
"On one night in November, the two rail lines linking Exeter and London were cut off. The M5 and the A30/A303 routes were also severely disrupted in places due to flooding, cutting an entire region off from the rest of the UK. This is unacceptable. And if the many experts, including the Exeter based Met Office are to be believed, we are going to see more of this, not less.
"With all the work we are doing within the European Union to tackle climate change and mitigate the impact across the world, too little is being done in our own backyard to stop its affects right now. We are now beginning to see the consequences of climate change that scientists have been warning us will happen for many years. We have to adapt our policies in all areas -not just in areas such as energy- immediately, if we are going to stop some of the major disruption we have seen to parts of Europe, such as Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.
"All tiers of government have a responsibility to ensure our transport links are operational all year round, our food supplies are secure and that people's homes and livelihoods are protected from flooding as much as possible. At a European level, we can ensure that governments can get hold of emergency funding through the EU solidarity fund as well as working with our partners to tackle climate change and mitigate future rises in global temperatures or unsettled weather patterns."
MEPs are currently holding their monthly plenary session in Strasbourg. Sir Graham is part of a campaign to end the monthly trip to Strasbourg and hold all meetings in Brussels. Such a move would save British taxpayers £180 million a year. Please visit www.singleseat.eu for more information.