NEWS
17/02/2020 07:42 GMT | Updated 18/02/2020 08:48 GMT

Minister Admits Government 'Will Never Be Able To Protect Every Household' From Flooding

More than 300 flood warnings are still in place across the UK.

A minister has admitted the government will not be able to protect every house from flooding after the country was hit by a second major storm within a week.

New environment secretary George Eustice told Sky News that the government had not been caught off guard by the floods caused by Storm Dennis.

Speaking during a visit to York to discuss tackling flooding, Eustice said that there was always more that could be done.

Eustice added: “We’ve done a huge amount – we can’t do anything about these extreme weather events but the steps we’ve taken have meant the impact of those weather events have affected fewer properties.”

He blamed the “nature of climate change” for the scale of the damage, and said: “There is always more that can be done.

“We’ll never be able to protect every single household just because of the nature of climate change and the fact that these weather events are becoming more extreme, but we’ve done everything that we can do with a significant sum of money, and there’s more to come.”

The environment secretary’s comments come after the country took a battering of heavy rain and strong winds as Storm Dennis lashed the UK, just a week after Storm Ciara.

Parts of the UK were buffeted with winds of more than 90mph, while more than a month’s worth of rain fell in 48 hours – leading to to a record number of flood warnings and alerts in England.

Roads and railways were flooded on Sunday morning after torrential downpours and high winds caused by the second storm in just over a week.

Earlier, the Ministry of Defence deployed Army personnel to assist people in West Yorkshire areas badly hit by flooding during last weekend’s Storm Ciara.

The situation was said to be “life-threatening” in South Wales, where the Met Office issued a red warning due to heavy rainfall and flooding risk until 11am on Sunday.

EA’s flood and coastal risk management executive director John Curtin said that there were a record number of flood warnings and alerts in force.

The EA said on Sunday that there had been more than 600 flood warnings and flood alerts in place across England – covering an area from Scotland’s River Tweed to the rivers of west Cornwall.

PA
Rescue operations continue as emergency services take residents of Oxford Street, Nantgarw to safety, after flooding in Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.

But the government was criticised for its response, including a Tory MP telling it to “pull its finger out”.

Conservative MP Philip Davies told the Daily Telegraph on Monday that “precious little” had been done since the floods in 2015 to prevent his constituents in Shipley, West Yorkshre, being flooded again during the two most recent storms.

He added: “My constituents who were flooded were the same people who were flooded on Boxing Day 2015.

Severe flood warnings were issued for the rivers Neath and Taff in South Wales, as well as the River Teme further north.

Pictures on social media show the Taff bursting its banks and flooding parts of Pontypridd, while rescue workers were using boats to get families to safety after further flooding in nearby Nantgarw.

South Wales Police said it had declared a major incident due to the flooding and severe weather.

PA
Local residents remain cheerful as walk through receding floodwater in Mountain Ash, Wales as Storm Dennis hit the UK.

Torrential rain brought by Storm Dennis over the weekend has left more than 300 flood warnings in place across the UK, including five severe warnings in the west Midlands.

The National Rail network has said some routes will be closed for hours on Monday due to flooding.

This includes disruptions between Three Bridges and Brighton until 7am, Southampton Central and Bournemouth until 9am and from Glasgow Central via Cathcart until 10am.

A man in his 60s died after being pulled from the River Tawe ear Trebanos Rugby Club, despite paramedics battling to save his life – police said he was pronounced dead at the scene.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
An employee cleans a nail salon, after Storm Dennis hits the UK leading to widespread flooding, in Pontypridd, Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police said that the man had been seen entering the River Tawe near Gorsedd Park in Ystradgynlais area, in South Wales, at about 10am on Sunday morning.

The force said the death was not being treated as suspicious or being linked to the bad weather.

A fire crew on its way to an emergency got stuck in the floods and had to be rescued.

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service told the PA news agency that a water rescue unit had been rushing to a report of two people being swept away in the River Teme when it got submerged in flood water.

A spokesman said the crew were safe and had been pulled to safety but the vehicle was still to be recovered.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
An ambulance, left, and a vehicle are submerged after flooding in Nantgarw, Wales.

Many flights have been grounded for safety reasons, with British Airways and EasyJet confirming cancellations.

More than 230 easyJet flights in and out of the UK on Saturday were cancelled, while several sporting fixtures were also called off due to the weather.

Two bodies were pulled from rough seas on Saturday, before the worst of the storm hit.

One man was found following a huge search operation off Margate after an early-morning distress call, while another was found at Herne Bay.