CANVEY’S MP has secured a meeting with Government ministers in the aftermath of some of the worst flooding since 1953.

Blocked drains caused big problems, while the Environment Agency’s pumps failed after a lightning strike.

It said they were off for 12 minutes before a back-up generator kicked in – a claim strongly criticised by residents who said it was off for much longer.

Rebecca Harris, Tory MP for Castle Point, will meet with ministers today after the latest flood, which follows a similar one last August.

She added: “There are so many concerns about whether the pumps are working and whether the drains were cleared.

“I have been talking to the Environment Agency and I have told it I want a full investigation to find out what happened.

“It’s absolutely appalling for people who have had their homes flooded. I’m so upset for them.

“It’s clear Canvey cannot deal with any more large scale housing.”

She will be asking for funding for investment in the pump system and dealing with the effects of flooding.

Canvey’s sea defences were dubbed the best in the country in December after the worst tidal surge in 60 years passed without incident on the island.

Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from their homes in north Essex, but on Canvey, where 59 people died in 1953, there was no flooding or disruption.

Last year, more than £3.8million was spent improving flood barriers at Fobbing, Benfleet and East Haven Creek, which all provide extra protection for the island, which lies below sea level.

However, the last two major floods have raised questions about whether the island can cope with major rainfall.

Ray Howard, county councillor for Canvey and a 1953 flood survivor, said: “I know I have to take criticism from people who are upset, but I have to say I’ve never seen three inches of rain fall in just over two hours.

“There has been a lot of change since last August, during the last flooding, and the sea defences are working. But we didn’t expect to get this much rain.

“The drains will have to be cleared more often.

“But I can throw some of the criticism back to the public. As someone who lives near a McDonald’s, I have seen people just throw their fast food litter on the ground. And where does that go? Down the drains.

“The public have got to start playing their part too.”

He added: “We have got to look at the surface water aspect. We will be looking at clearing more drains on a rota basis and putting a programme together for the future.”