Flooding funding for Leeds is five years late – The Yorkshire Post says

IT would be churlish not to welcome the Government’s latest money for a number of flood defence schemes in Yorkshire, including £22.3m to ‘complete’ a major scheme in Leeds.

What is frustrating, however, is that it has taken the Covid crisis, and a desire to accelerate ‘shovel-ready’ projects, for Ministers to act. An urgent need to better protect homes and businesses in Leeds was blindingly obvious when the city suffered catastrophic damage in December 2015 – and the subsequent years of prevarication and obfuscation reflect very badly on the Government.

It should not have required a sustained campaign by The Yorkshire Post, Leeds City Council, cross-party MPs and others for Ministers to see sense after David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, made one of his many ‘money no object’ promises to flooding victims in this region.

But it is also disengenuous of Boris Johnson to take the credit for this latest announcement by saying: “Last winter I saw for myself the misery and upheaval that flooding can bring to lives and livelihoods and I said we would do more to help people.”

This was the scene in Leeds on the morning after the December 2015 floods. Pohoto: Bruce Rollinson.

Why? People living in Doncaster and Don Valley are still waiting for the flooding summit that Mr Johnson promised them when he made a belated visit to the area last November.

Yet, while the money for Sheffield and Upper Don Valley is testament to the persistence of local campaigners, the piecemeal schemes will only offer limited protection – the Government needs to look at the entirety of individual rivier catchment areas if it is serious about preventing flooding in the future.

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

This was Boris Johnson during his visit to South Yorkshire in November 2019. Photo: James Hardisty.

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James Mitchinson