Storm Desmond: Energy Secretary Amber Rudd admits floods part of a wider trend due to climate change

Flood clean-up continues - but sleet and snow are on the way

The devastating floods in Cumbria could be part of “trends” of extreme weather to hit the UK as a result of climate change, Amber Rudd, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, has conceded.

Ms Rudd was asked on The Andrew Marr Show if the recent flooding in the North-west could be attributed to climate change. She admitted there were “trends” of severe weather events: “Addressing dangerous climate change is about security for people, and making sure that for the long-term future they are not impacted by really dangerous weather events.”

Britain is again bracing itself for more bad weather. Although river levels across the north of England have started to recede, Storm Desmond has given way to colder conditions, with a sharp drop in temperature. Snow has already brought hazardous driving conditions to the M6 at Shap in Cumbria and sections of the A66 and A6. 

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Spreading grit after a heavy frost on the Forth and Clyde canal (PA)

Last night, the Met Office warned that sleet and snow, combined with clearer skies overnight, could bring a greater risk of ice in many areas. And it said the fall in temperature is likely to lead to widespread icy patches and freezing fog in the north of England, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.

There are still 47 flood alerts in place for England and Wales from the Environment Agency, including parts of Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Cumbria continued its clean-up operation, with the help of soldiers from the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, volunteers from Islamic charities such as One Nation, The Ansaar, Food for Thought (Al Imdaad) and the boxer Amir Khan; volunteers from his foundation and the international humanitarian charity Penny Appeal served hot meals at a community centre in Carlisle, handed out toys and Christmas presents and delivered food parcels.

Liz Truss, the Environment Secretary, said new flood protection measures for Cumbria will be drawn up by a group formed to reduce the impact of extreme weather. The Cumbrian Floods Partnership group will examine flood defences and measures to slow vital rivers, to reduce the intensity of water flow at peak times.

Ms Truss also announced a National Flood Resilience Review and said the Environment Department would reassess how it calculates flood risk, as well as updating the Government’s “worst-case scenario” planning. 

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Liz Truss: ‘We will take prompt action where we identify any gaps in our approach’ (PA)

“We are already spending £2.3bn over the next six years to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding,” she said. “But we need to be sure we have the very best possible plans in place for flood prevention and protection across the whole country. 

“We will take prompt action where we identify any gaps in our approach and where our defences and modelling need strengthening.”

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