Woman whose home was hit by floods 12 times says Tory net zero u-turn is ‘horrific’

Mary Long-Dhonau, 59, says her Worcester home has been flooded several times and weakening commitments on climate will make matters worse for many

Athena Stavrou
Wednesday 20 September 2023 16:38 BST
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British flood victim Mary Long-Dhonau OBE has called Rishi Sunak’s plans to water down net zero commitments “horrific”
British flood victim Mary Long-Dhonau OBE has called Rishi Sunak’s plans to water down net zero commitments “horrific” (FloodMary.com)

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A woman whose home has flooded 12 times says Rishi Sunak’s plan to pull back on net zero pledges will have “horrific” consequences for UK homeowners.

Mary Long-Dhonau OBE, 59, says her home in Worcester has been flooded several times between 2000 to 2020, partly due to the effects of climate change.

The prime minister is planning to water down some of Britain’s key green policies and move away from the current UK net zero pledge.

The news has sparked backlash among MPs and climate campaigners who say a lack of commitment to climate policies will put more homes at risk of flooding.

Have you been affected by this story? If so contact athena.stavrou@independent.co.uk

Ms Long-Dhonau said: “I was absolutely horrified when I heard this morning that Rishi was watering down climate policies. Due to climate change I’ve watched more and more houses flood on a regular basis. It will have a horrific knock on effect.

“Everyone is at risk of flooding. In 2020 my house was flooded by surface water flooding. You don’t have to be at the bottom of a hill to be affected.”

Findings from the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) in 2021 found that the number of people at risk of flooding could double as early as the 2050s due to climate change. The first CCRA, in 2012, found that increased river flow resulting from extreme rainfall, plus sea level rise, will increase flood risk in Britain.

Homes underwater along the banks of the River Severn in Worcester in 2020, when Ms Long-Dhonau’s home last flooded
Homes underwater along the banks of the River Severn in Worcester in 2020, when Ms Long-Dhonau’s home last flooded (Getty Images)

Climate campaigners Greenpeace said: “As temperatures rise, so will the risk of deadly heatwaves and destructive storms and flooding. If you’ve not experienced flooding in your own area, it might seem like climate change won’t really affect you. But in many parts of the UK, flood risk is going up dramatically.”

When her home was flooded in 2000, Ms Long-Dhonau was forced to live upstairs for nine months before her entire house could be lived in again.

She has since founded Mary’s Flood, a campaign group raising awareness for and supporting those at flood risk.

Mrs Long-Dhonau OBE in her ‘floodmobile’, that she uses to help people at flood risk.
Mrs Long-Dhonau OBE in her ‘floodmobile’, that she uses to help people at flood risk. (FlodMary.com)

“It’s something you don’t understand unless you’ve been through it,” the grandmother-of-four added. “The hardest part is losing your memories. You can replace a sofa but you can’t replace your children’s drawings or photos.

“Flooding is happening indiscriminately all over the country. This week alone we’ve seen a months worth of rain in an hour in some places. The government needs to understand that it’s worth the investment.”

In 2019, the UK committed to a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

On Wednesday, Suella Braverman said the government will not “save the planet by bankrupting the British people”.

Ms Long-Dhonau believes the effects of climate change will have a worsening affect on the British economy.

“Every time there’s flooding there’s a knock on effect on the entire community” she said. “A town can be brought to its knees when it floods. People don’t go shopping, tourism stops. The green economy is a money maker.

“We can still make money through working with the green economy. It’s time and money well spent. We need a sustainable future.”

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