William Eichler 04 January 2016

Cameron pledges £40m to rebuild flood defences after Storm Eva

David Cameron yesterday promised a package of more than £40m to rebuild and improve flood defences in the aftermath of Storm Eva.

The prime minister also pledged the Government would support charities helping those caught up in the Boxing Day deluge by matching every pound of the first £2m raised.

The recovery package has also been extended with grants to reimburse fire and rescue authorities that have incurred excessive costs protecting flooded communities.

In total this takes the overall investment in recovery from Storm Eva and Storm Desmond to nearly £200m.

Prime minister David Cameron said: ‘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.’

£10m of the new funding package will be reserved to improve the Foss Barrier protecting York and another £30m will be spent repairing defences on the Wharfe, Calder, Aire, Ouse and Derwent.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: ‘We anticipate that the cost of recovery from the floods will exceed the funds laid out by the government as the effects of the damage unfold in the coming days and weeks.

‘With efforts still focusing on clear-up operations and getting support packages for residents and businesses ready as quickly as possible so they can get back on their feet, our message remains clear. Leeds needs the best possible, comprehensive flood defences.’

Calling on the Government to talk to Leeds about re-instating the flood defence scheme previously cancelled in 2011, Cllr Blake explains: ‘This scheme would have given the city protection along the Aire between Woodlesford and Kirkstall.’

‘The extent of the devastation makes it perfectly clear that we need to take a longer term view than existing funding packages are offering. Although these deal with immediate aftermath and are much needed, we must have further significant investment so that Leeds has the flood defences that are appropriate for the UK’s third largest city.’

Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole also highlighted the importance of a longer term approach to extreme weather.

He said: ‘The Government is behind the game on flood defence spending – and dragging its heels on the action needed to tackle climate change, which is super-charging our weather.

‘The Government’s review of flood resilience must take full account of the latest climate change projections, with spending increased in line with them.’

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