A LEADING Government scientist is being drafted in to lead an investigation into why Canvey saw some of its worst flooding in years at the weekend.
Mark Walport, the Government's chief scientific adviser, will lead the independent investigation, after Castle Point MP, Rebecca Harris called for action over floods, caused when two months of rain fell in 90 minutes.
Mrs Harris met ministers from Defra and the Communities Department yesterday about the situation and asked why the island’s pumping system failed to cope with the rainfall.
She hopes the investigation will ensure residents are not flooded again.
She said: “I believe residents deserve an independent investigation of Sunday’s floods and the Cabinet Office has set one up at my request, led by Mark Walport and any independent specialists he selects to report as quickly as possible.
“The remit will be to find out the facts of what happened in Sunday’s flash floods to cause so much devastation.
“If we can get to the truth, we will be able to determine how we might be able to prevent it happening in the future.”
The relevant minister, Oliver Letwin, and Mrs Harris will also meet all agencies to report the findings of the inquiry and set out what needs to be done.
Islanders have questioned the system’s ability to cope with storms after it failed last August and again on Sunday.
Fourteen pumps were upgraded in 2007 at a cost of £6million, but a lightning strike knocked out one of them for 12 minutes at the weekend.
Mrs Harris said: “There’s been so many different stories going around and we want someone totally independent to look at the whole story.”
It is hoped the investigation and other cross-agency meetings in Castle Point will pinpoint how much needs to be spent to get pumping stations and flood defences up to scratch.
Mrs Harris praised islanders for their response to the floods, adding: “The community spirit in the whole of my borough is phenomenal.
“It makes it a joy to be the MP for Castle Point, but I don’t want this to happen again.
“I can’t think of anything more miserable than having flood damage in a home which should be your sanctuary.
“I want to do everything I can to properly understand and I want the public to understand what’s going on and what all the issues are.”