Readers will no doubt be aware that last month was the wettest February on record as the UK was battered by storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge in successive weekends. Settlements across the country have been flooded, including here in Maidstone and The Weald, where properties have been threatened in the Middle Medway Valley.

I must take this opportunity to thank and pay tribute to the community volunteers who surged into action, ensuring that emergency measures were in place, protecting our homes and businesses. 

I will be meeting residents from Yalding and the surrounding areas later this week to review contingency plans and to identify where we need to focus for better future protection and safety. The Government is investing £4 billion in flood defences over the next five years and I will do all I can to ensure my constituency receives its share.

The KM recently reported that I have been in touch with UK Power Networks to advise them of the urgent need to improve flood resilience at the substations on Benover Road and Yalding Square and I will monitor progress accordingly.

Last week, I also met with representatives from the specialist insurer Flood Re, which aims to improve the affordability of household insurance policies for people living in high flood risk areas. Their advice to those people is still to shop around for home insurance in the mainstream market, as Flood Re’s mere existence means there should be affordable competing policies available. However, if any constituents are unable to find home insurance at an affordable price then please do let me know.

Substantial progress has been made since the devastating floods of 2013, with better communication between communities and agencies, more advanced modelling and well tested measures being implemented by appointed local flood wardens.  There is always more to do, however, and I will therefore remain steadfast in supporting our ‘at risk’ areas in this onerous ongoing challenge.