Yorkshire cannot rely on luck to avoid flooding - The Yorkshire Post says

Everyone in Yorkshire will be breathing a sigh of relief that the weekend brought no repeat of the catastrophic flooding that caused havoc in the Calder Valley a week ago.

Storm Dennis did not manifest itself here with the ferocity that had been feared, and the people of places including Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge were spared more heartache.

The efforts of the authorities, bolstered by troops, to shore up defences should be acknowledged in making these vulnerable communities as prepared as they could be.

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The presence of the Army was both a reassurance and an indication that the threat was being treated with due seriousness.

Soldiers from the Highlanders based at Catterick Garrison help build flood defences in Mytholmroyd in preparation for Storm Dennis.

Nevertheless, the weekend should be seen for what it was – only a respite, and not an end to the current threat from floods.

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Elsewhere in Yorkshire, water levels in the River Ouse are not expected to peak until tomorrow, posing the risk of flooding in and around York, especially if they reach the same height as the devastating inundations of 2000.

And there will be huge sympathy from the people of our county for their counterparts in other parts of Britain on whom Storm Dennis inflicted terrible damage.

Storm Dennis hits York.

Winter is far from over, and it is certain that the weeks ahead will bring further storms and the possibility of significant snowfall, which when it melts increases the flood risk.

Communities across the region, and the authorities, need to remain on high alert.

Nor should it be forgotten that the people of the Calder Valley are still dealing with the aftermath of Storm Ciara. Homes and businesses have been severely damaged, possessions ruined, and lives blighted.

Weeks, possibly months, of costly recovery lie ahead before communities can return to some semblance of normality.

Even then, residents face long-term problems. Properties may be difficult, if not impossible, to insure and those wishing to sell their homes could find that potential buyers are scarce.

The necessity for the Government to give flood defences the priority and urgency they deserve remains as acute as ever.

This newspaper’s call for a detailed plan of action including a floods summit, a review of funding and the Environment Agency’s performance, and the granting of “tier 1” status to areas like Calderdale so that they receive more money must be heeded.

Just as it is apparent that we are suffering more extremes of rainfall as a result of climate change, so it is obvious that increased numbers of communities are at risk as a consequence.

For Calderdale, the floods of a week ago were the third disaster in eight years.

There have also been repeated floods in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull in recent years, and only months ago the people of the Don Valley suffered grievously.

All this adds up to a picture of Yorkshire being on the front line of a threat from the elements that grows ever more serious with each passing year. Our county’s people must be protected, whatever the cost.

At the weekend, the Calder Valley was lucky. But Yorkshire cannot rely on luck to avoid flooding, because it will surely run out.

What it needs, and must have, is Government action without delay.