April 19, 2018

Cumbria floods – Minister vows to ‘learn lessons’ amid claims defence schemes were shelved

More than 2,000 homes and businesses in the country had been flooded after more than a month’s rainfall fell in just one day as Storm Desmond devastated the region.

Prime Minister David Cameron will today visit the worst-hit areas after chairing an hour-long emergency Cobra meeting, while ministers will set out further plans to support Cumbria.

But the Government has faced criticism after multi-million pound defences built following similarly catastrophic floods in 2005 failed to keep the deluge out from people’s homes.

There have also been claims, including from Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron whose constituency is in Cumbria, the Environment Agency had shelved hundreds of ‘low priority’ flood-defence schemes.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss claimed flood defences had protected as many as 8,000 homes the north of England.

She added: “Even in the cases where some of the defences were overtopped… it delayed the flood so it gave us an opportunity to evacuate and protect people and reduce the impact of those floods.

“But I fully understand what a devastating impact it was. Of course we will learn the lessons that we can from this unprecedented event.”

The Tory minister will this afternoon make a statement to the House of Commons to outline further plans to help support the devastated region

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