Floods could strike Yorkshire again and ‘we don’t have resources to cope’

Sheffield City mayor Dan Jarvis has warned there is “every possibility” floods could strike in Yorkshire again, as he warned the region did not have the resources to protect it from another disaster.

Mr Jarvis warned the effects would be “ever more devastating” if coupled with a potential second wave of coronavirus and possible disruption caused by the UK leaving the transition period with the EU at the end of the year.

Mr Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, secured a debate in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening in which MPs from across Yorkshire united in calling for more action from the government to tackle the problem which hit swathes of the county last year.

“To quote Lord Stark from ‘Game of Thrones – not from the other place – ‘Winter is coming’, and there is every possibility that floods could strike again,” he said.

“If they do, potentially amid a second wave of covid infections and challenges relating to the Brexit transition, the effects of that flooding will be ever more devastating.”

Mr Jarvis warned that “as another flooding season begins, we do not have the resources that we need to protect our region”.

He called on the government to confirm its current Medium Term Plan but also to provide “an exceptional boost above and beyond it to fully fund our proposals”.

“That would follow the precedent of the £115m in exceptional funding that Yorkshire received after the 2015 floods. I hope the government will go beyond that and give local authorities the revenue – not just the capital – that they desperately need to get flood-prevention projects shovel ready. “

Lundwood Street was affected by floods in November last year
(Image: DanJarvisMP/Twitter)

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said the government was “absolutely committed” in investing in flood risk management, saying it had committed £2.6bn in flood defences between 2015 and 2021, to protect around 300,000 properties.

She added that the last Budget would double investment flooding and coastal defences in England to £5.2bn over the next six years from 2021.

Last year parts of Yorkshire were hit with flash flooding, including Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley, the Calder Valley and Snaith and East Cowick. There was also severe flooding in December 2015, leading some people to be evacuated from their homes.

On Tuesday it was confirmed that a South Yorkshire flooding summit will take place on October 8, which Mr Jarvis urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to attend in person.

“His presence would be an important sign to the people of Yorkshire that he recognises the scale of the threat and is working to address it,” he said.

However, some MPs, including York Central MP Rachael Maskell and Halifax MP Holly Lynch, raised concerns that the summit was listed for South Yorkshire and not for the whole of Yorkshire, as was promised.

YorkshireLive – Halifax