IF BORIS Johnson intends to visit Yorkshire today, he needs to come armed with some answers – and, preferably, some money – for this county’s flooding victims as the latest storms batter the country.
First, he needs to commit the Government to funding the final £25m that is still required to complete, in full, the flood defence scheme proposed for Leeds – David Cameron, for one, said after the 2015 floods that money would be “no object”.
Second, the Tory leader should pledge to ‘match’ the £500,000 raised by South Yorkshire Community Foundation for those 1,000-plus families in Doncaster and surrounding area whose homes were ruined last month. This, regrettably, is the third time that this newspaper has issued this challenge.
Third, the Prime Minister needs to overhaul the Government’s entire approach to flood prevention – The Yorkshire Post recently suggested the creation of a high-profile Minister for the Coast – to ensure this country is better equipped to respond to extreme weather.
After all, the need to invest more money in flood-risk areas, and also overhaul planning rules so all new buildings are flood-proofed from the outset with, for example, powers points raised off ground level, is made even more urgent after University of Leeds research revealed that the potential risks to the planet are far greater than previously envisaged.
According to academics, 400 million people around the world will be exposed to coastal flooding every year by the end of the century if Greenland continues to lose ice at its current rate. If that doesn’t shake politicians out of their collective lethargy, what will?