Politics aside, I would like to start this column by paying tribute to our NHS, key workers and all the volunteers out there. They have shown dedication and drive through this pandemic and I applaud them.

In recent editions of the Times & Star I have noted that climate change and global warming are supposedly the main contribution to severe flooding and coastal erosion in West Cumbria.

Whilst no doubt global warming has some contributory factors to flooding and coastal erosion, why is it that local factors affecting these matters are totally ignored?

In last week’s edition county councillor Jim Lister promised 160 tonnes of stone to halt the saltpans erosion on the B5300 coast road to Silloth. Sorry Jim but you’re 40 years too late! The tide is only five metres away from destroying the carriageway and this will require the coast road to be rerouted, costing us millions. The new coastal cycleway is a fantastic asset for attracting tourism, but why was a permanent concrete shoreline and mini promenade not built through the saltpans to permanently solve the erosion while also saving the road?

Many locals and experts attribute the saltpans erosion to the removal of thousands of tonnes of gravel and stone from the South Pier Maryport, this accelerating a process known as long shore drift. The result of this process is evident on the coastline north of Dubmill – the coastline there is actually stretching out into the Solway Firth with the deposits of longshore drift from saltpans and Allonby bay. Simple and effective solutions on the saltpans could be gabions and the use of groynes.

With regards to the million pound flood defence work in Flimby, I feel many local factors have contributed to these floods recently. Flimby woods reservoir was reduced significantly, increasing run off from the natural streams into the village. Farmers Way housing development was built on a natural wetland that absorbed and stored huge amounts of water before slowly running off to the sea.

We as an authority must look harder at potential flood risks at our planning stages and seriously factor in the possible consequences. It’s not acceptable for our hard-pressed council tax payers to foot the bill for poor decision making.

Finally I must say how disappointed I am to see the Whitehaven mine development being reconsidered by Cumbria County Council. Mining coking coal in Australia, Colombia, Russia obviously doesn’t have any effect on global warming and clearly the huge sea-going tankers that deliver it to our shores from half way around the world run on fresh air. Let’s get on with it and get some well paid jobs in the county!