UK flooding: 'This wouldn't be allowed to happen in the South' - David Cameron accused of neglecting the North

The level of flooding across Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria would be 'unthinkable' in London and the South East because of 'state-of-the-art' flood defences, it was claimed

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Monday 28 December 2015 10:59 GMT
David Cameron described the flooding in Yorkshire over the weekend as 'unprecedented'
David Cameron described the flooding in Yorkshire over the weekend as 'unprecedented' (PA)

David Cameron has been accused of neglecting the north after parts of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester witnessed unprecedented levels of flooding over the weekend.

Such levels of flooding is “unthinkable” in London and the South East and would not be allowed to happen, it was claimed in a damning editorial in the Yorkshire Evening Post, which said “state-of-the-art flood defences” stop the south from seeing the kind of devastation in the north.

Technology made the flooding in Leeds and York “completely avoidable,” it claimed in a front-page article headlined ‘Indefensible’.

It was echoed by the Yorkshire Post, which told Mr Cameron that Yorkshire and the North will fail to become the “economic powerhouse if left to the mercy of unprecedented weather events”.

It called on ministers to divert some of Britain’s overseas aid budget to funding flood defences.

Mr Cameron will visit areas across the north hit by the devastating floods later on Monday.

Yesterday he announced that an extra 200 soldiers had been deployed to add to the 300 already working to help combat local residents cope with rising water levels.

A further 1,000 soldiers are on standby.

He is under increasing pressure to commit more money to building bigger and better flood defences and reverse last month's spending cuts to local councils and agencies.

The Environment Agency’s deputy chief executive David Rooke said a “complete rethink” of the UK’s flood defences was needed and said homes must also be made more resilient to flooding.

Accusing the Government of prioritising the South over the North, the Yorkshire Evening Post wrote on its front page on Monday: "It remains the case that such events, like those witnessed in this city, are unthinkable in London and much of the South East, where state-of-the-art flood defences have long been in place."

Monday's Yorkshire Evening Post front page (Yorkshire Evening Post)

It added: "A Northern Powerhouse is nothing when it is under several feet of mucky water. This city must have critical inward investment to make sure it has the protection from floods on this scale ever happening again.

"What's good enough for London is good enough for Leeds."

Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danczuk added his name to those calling for foreign aid money to be diverted to funding flood defences in northern England. "Why do we spend money in Bangladesh when it needs spending in Great Britain?

"What we need to do is to sort out the problems which are occurring here and not focus so much on developing countries; that has to be our priority," he told BBC Manchester.

Nearly 30 severe flood warnings remain in place in areas in the north-east and north-west England, meaning danger to life.

This is in addition to more than 180 other flood warnings in place across England and Wales. Follow the latest updates on the floods here.

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