Storm Franklin: Now Ministers must face facts over Yorkshire flood defences – The Yorkshire Post says

OUR FIRST thoughts are with the victims of Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin as Yorkshire battens down the hatches before the arrival of Storm Gladys.

The only consolation is that the flood defences in cities like Sheffield and Leeds did appear to hold and spare thousands of homes and businesses.

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But this is no comfort to those families who have now seen their properties flooded on multiple occasions and who remain frustrated by the Government’s apparent ambivalence.

The next boat is due at... - here's a photo put out by rail operator Northern of flooding at Rotherham Station.

Two years to the week after George Eustice, the then newly-appointed Environment Secretary, visited York to see the February 2020 floods for himself, he needs to hold the Yorkshire-wide flooding summit that he promised.

For, while Ministers have held meetings with representatives of specific areas, they still fail to grasp the fact that a more strategic approach is required – river catchment areas need to be considered in their entirety.

They’re still in denial about flooding’s impact on those householders who are still struggling – despite the Government’s reforms – to obtain affordable insurance.

And there’s still a prevailing view – evidenced by regular Parliamentary debates – that there’s a lack of coherence between the priorities of Defra, the Environment Agency and Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities which is responsible for local government finance.

Environment Secretary George Eustice promised a Yorkshiure-wide flooding summit during this visit to York in 2020.

The Yorkshire Post has long argued that there needs to be a political big-hitter in charge of flooding and coastal policy who is more impactful than the enthusiastic but ineffective Rebecca Pow, the junior minister in charge at present.

For, while Ministers cannot be blamed for the vagaries of the British weather, it is their job to protect the most vulnerable communities – even more so when the current storms are likely to become more frequent in the future as a result of climate change.

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The state of the railway at Rotherham Station after Storm Franklin hit the region. Photo: Simon Hulme.