David Cameron pledges an extra £10 million to improve York’s flood defences

3 Jan 2016 @ 10.32 am
| News

David Cameron has announced a £40m flood defence package – including £10m specifically earmarked for York.

The Prime Minister pledged the extra cash on Sunday (January 3) to rebuild and improve flood defences in the aftermath of Storm Eva.

He said £10m of the new funding package would be reserved to improve the Foss Barrier protecting York, which was overwhelmed at the height of the floods.

The other £30m will be spent repairing defences on the Wharfe, Calder, Aire, Ouse and Derwent. It will include repairs to pumping and barriers and clearing blockages in rivers.

Further detailed work will be conducted along all rivers affected by Storm Eva – and it is very likely the overall bill will top £40m once the full damage is identified.

Mr Cameron said:

I have seen at first-hand the devastation caused by flooding. And that’s why this work to repair and improve flood defences is so vital.

We are already spending £280m over the next six years to protect thousands of houses from flooding in Yorkshire as part of our £2.3bn investment to protect 300,000 houses across the country.

But now more than £40m will be spent to fix those defences overwhelmed by the record rainfall we’ve seen in recent weeks and to make them more resilient to further bad weather.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, whose Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency was hit by flooding, questioned how much of the £40m was new money.

Time and time again, David Cameron offers warm words and a little bit of funding for a short-term fix.

This money wouldn’t be needed now if he had followed through with so many previous commitments to truly protect homes threatened with flooding.

Yorkshire has new ‘flood envoy’

The flooding response in Yorkshire will be overseen by transport minister Robert Goodwill, who has been appointed by the Prime Minister as flooding envoy to the county.

But the appointment comes as it emerged a previous floods initiative came to nothing.

Mr Cameron set up a cabinet committee on flooding after the disastrous 2013-14 winter storms, the Sunday Times reported.

But it was disbanded after three meetings. Oliver Letwin, the Cabinet Office minister caught up in a race row last week, was meant to produce a key report on flood resilience, but 22 months later nothing has been published.