A Cumbrian flood group met with MPs in London to discuss county-specific solutions to tackling future floods.

Cumbria Rivers Authority Governance Group (CRAGG) met with the then MPs - Workington's Sue Hayman, Penrith and the Border's Rory Stewart, Copeland's Trudy Harrison and a Tim Farron representative - in London to discuss how Cumbria should prepare for flooding in future.

Carlisle's MP John Stevenson was unable to attend due to a prior commitment.

Paul Barnes, joint leader of CRAGG, said: “We managed to get it agreed that it was a good idea to have a separate county approach for Cumbria.

“Rory Stewart suggested that CRAGG needs to meet with all six Cumbrian MPs after the election and the top Environment Agency officials from the area and their engineers, to discuss in more detail what we're requesting or interested in being looked at.”

CRAGG was initially set up as a farmers flood group. Mr Barnes, who farms at Braithwaite, explained what the group wants to achieve: “CRAGG wants proactive river management and drainage infrastructure management to be examined as a way of mitigating floods throughout the whole county.”

The group has put together a document arguing that Cumbria is a special case when it comes to flooding and needs to be recognised by Government as such.

Members are arguing that Cumbria is a special case because of its topography with mountains and high volumes of rain; its place in the north west of the country; the vulnerability of its infrastructure, economy and remote communities; the high level of flooding; and long term impact of flooding on people's mental health.

Mrs Hayman said: “I think it's an excellent document. We're very supporting of what they are saying.

“We had discussions about how to strengthen what they are saying. Hopefully we will get together after the election and pitch it to Government and help them understand the situation better.”

Mr Stewart said: "The issue of flooding is one of great significance to us as Cumbrians, and one that sadly we've become very versed in. After my recent meeting with fellow Cumbrian MP's and flood group CRAGG's in Westminster, it is clear to see that our local groups are most knowledgeable on the subject and best informed on how to effectively make a difference. Therefore, in order to fix the best long term solution, I believe it is necessary to have a meeting between our action groups and the Environment Agency, and I look forward to working towards an effective flood risk management solution."

At the moment the Government funds flood defences and protection support based on the number of people such measures protect, which means that Cumbria loses out because of its smaller population.

Mr Barnes was pleased with the outcome of the initial meeting, but still wants more to be done.

He said: “If it was as much as we could get, it was a step forward. Because of the forthcoming election the dynamism wasn't in the room to take us further.

“We were hoping to get a little more concrete backing and longer time to be heard on what our principal concerns were.”