Minsters were warned by the Government’s own climate change advisers that they needed to take action to protect the increasing number of homes at high risk of flooding - but rejected the advice.
The decision not to develop a comprehensive strategy to address increased flood risk came in October just a few weeks before the flooding in Cumbria before Christmas and the most recent flooding in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Following the devastation caused in Cumbria George Osborne announced the creation of a £50 million repair scheme for those whose property had been damaged.
Experts believe the cost of clearing up the most recent flooding effecting both Leeds and York could exceed this figure.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said that despite David Cameron’s promise to do so, the government had failed to learn lessons from the widespread flooding in 2013/14.
In June, the committee report on the progress towards tackling climate change highlighted dealing with floods from extreme weather as the government’s most serious failing.
It stated: “Plans and policies, or progress in addressing vulnerabilities, are lacking”.
The CCC recommended that the government should “develop a strategy to address the increasing number of homes in areas of high flood risk”.
But in October the government replied: “We believe that a strategy to address future residual risk would not be appropriate at this time.”
Daniel Johns, the CCC’s head of adaptation told The Guardian: “The CCC made a very clear recommendation in its statutory advice, but the government rejected it.”
“But the government has no strategy to address this residual risk.”
In Pictures: Floods hit the UK
In Pictures: Floods hit the UK
1/17 Floods hit the UK
Members of Cleveland Mountain Rescue and soldiers from 2 Battalion The Duke of Lancasters Regiment evacuating people from the Queens Hotel in York city centre as the River Ouse floods on December 27, 2015
2/17 Floods hit the UK
Teams in Whalley evacuate villagers from their homes
3/17 Floods hit the UK
A resident of Glenridding, which flooded for the third time this month, surveys the damage
4/17 Floods hit the UK
The River Ouse, York, has burst its banks
5/17 Floods hit the UK
A soldier from the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s regiment helps to sure up flood defences in Appleby, Cumbria, one of the areas worst affected by the floods
6/17 Floods hit the UK
Experts believe the cost of clearing up the most recent flooding could exceed £50m (PA)
7/17 Floods hit the UK
Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes in York
8/17 Floods hit the UK
A police helicopter photographed the extent of the flooding in York on 27 December.
9/17 Floods hit the UK
Flooding at Clifford's Tower in York on 27 December
10/17 Floods hit the UK
Flooding along York's Inner Ring Road on 27 December
11/17 Floods hit the UK
Water runs out of the Lowther pub in York on 27 December after the River Ouse bursts its banks in York city centre.
12/17 Floods hit the UK
Flooded streets in Dumfries, Scotland on 30 December
13/17 Floods hit the UK
A car left submerged in floodwater in Newton Stewart, Scotland
14/17 Floods hit the UK
Staff at the Worlds End bar in Dumfries Scotland desperately try to pump floodwater out of the building
15/17 Floods hit the UK
A man stands in the doorway of his cottage in the flooded town of Straiton in Scotland
16/17 Floods hit the UK
Flooding in the village of Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland
17/17 Floods hit the UK
Man wades through floodwater outside a fish and chip shop in Dumfries, Scotland
A government spokeswoman said: “This government has been clear on its commitment to climate change action and we are pushing for an ambitious global deal in Paris as well as driving innovation to build a low-carbon economy. We are also investing £2.3bn over the next six years to better protect 300,000 homes. The Environment Agency’s figures take account of climate change and show that this investment will reduce flood risk.”
- More about:
- UK flooding