After the visit of Prince Charles to the flood-ravaged village of Fishlake in South Yorkshire brought some Christmas cheer to residents following a miserable few weeks for them, politicians must seize the opportunity in the new year to better protect and support communities in the North, and across the country, from such situations.
Leaders from Northern areas, led by Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis, have called for increased investment in flood defences and the establishment of a new emergency response unit. It has been suggested such a body could be made up of local and national government agencies and chaired by a Cabinet Minister in an attempt to prevent a repeat of the Government’s slow response to the South Yorkshire floods.
This is by no means an issue restricted to the North – further floods hit the south of England over the weekend, affecting dozens of properties in the South East, Devon and Cornwall, while there are warnings in place for much of the country in the coming days.
After an election campaign focused from almost all parties on the neglect of too many regions of this country combined with the effects of one of the wettest autumns since records began, there has never been a clearer case for effective action.
With a new majority Government and arguments over Brexit less likely to dominate the political agenda over the next few months, there can be no excuses for Boris Johnson’s new administration to take the steps that prevent other cities, towns and villages suffering in the same way that Fishlake has done.