North Yorkshire residents who need to evacuate through floods will be able to stay with friends or relatives, police confirm

People across North Yorkshire who need to leave their homes if they flood will not be fined for staying with friends or relatives, officials said on Wednesday.

Flood defence preparations are underway in York as residents reassured if they need to evacuate they will not be fined.

Twenty-seven flood warnings were in place across the county on Wednesday morning, meaning flooding was expected in areas including York, Collingham, Old Malton and Knaresborough.

Anyone who is not shielding and has not tested positive for coronavirus who needs to leave their home will be able to stay with family and friends who are also not shielding or have tested positive.

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The council have also put plans in to safely evacuate and transport people who are shielding who need to leave home, or people who are positive for the virus and self-isolating.

There are no plans to evacuate anyone in North Yorkshire as of Wednesday lunchtime, but officials stressed that they are constantly assessing the situation.

Matthew Robinson, senior resilience and emergencies officer at North Yorkshire County Council, said: “If people are required to leave their property, we will work with an appropriate location for them to go.

“If someone is positive or is self-isolating, we can work together to find an appropriate place for us to go to. Ideally people would use their own transport.

“We’ve got plans that we developed since the beginning of covid to respond to these types of events.”

Charlotte Bloxham, chief inspector of North Yorkshire Police, said: “In a flooding situation it may not be possible to stay at home. I would like to reassure the public that if you are having to take action and go and stay with a family member, we certainly wouldn’t be looking to take enforcement action in those circumstances.”