Prime Minister promises cash to fix Yorkshire’s flood defences

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron
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Flood defences battered by Storm Eva will be fixed and bolstered under a £40 million package announced by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Charities raising cash for communities left devastated over Christmas by the deluge will be matched by the Government up to a total of £2 million in a move echoing pledges to earlier flooding victims.

Thousands of homes and businesses across large swathes of northern England were hit by severe flooding as the storm wreaked havoc on Boxing Day.

Mr Cameron said: “I have seen at first-hand the devastation caused by flooding. And that’s why this work to repair and improve flood defences is so vital.

“We are already spending £280m over the next six years to protect thousands of houses from flooding in Yorkshire as part of our £2.3bn investment to protect 300,000 houses across the country.

“But now more than £40m will be spent to fix those defences overwhelmed by the record rainfall we’ve seen in recent weeks and to make them more resilient to further bad weather.”

Around £10 million of the funding package will be used to improve defences in York after they failed to cope during the storm. Environment Agency officials decided to lift the Foss Barrier designed to protect the city after finding its pumps were at risk of electrical failure due to water entering the building, prompting widespread anger among residents.

The rest of the cash will be spent on repairing defences on the Calder, Aire, Ouse and Derwent rivers in Yorkshire as well as the Wharfe, which runs through Tadcaster where the storm left the town split in two when an ancient bridge collapsed.

It comes on top of £50 million of funding to help local authorities responding to the flood as well as money already pledged for those affected by Storm Desmond in Cumbria, Lancashire and Northumberland.

Mr Cameron has also made Transport Minister Robert Goodwill a “flooding envoy” for Yorkshire to oversee the response in the region and identify what must be done to protect the area in the future.

Mr Goodwill said: “The effects of the flooding in Yorkshire have been devastating and my thoughts are with every person affected by the catastrophic weather we have seen sweep across the North of England this December.

“As a Yorkshireman I am determined to ensure I do everything I can to help protect communities in this area from the devastation flooding can cause. This is about ensuring people get the support they need as they repair their homes and rebuild their businesses.”