Calderdale flood warnings prompts call by Halifax MP for immediate Government COBRA meeting

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MPs representing Yorkshire communities that have suffered repeated flood devastation are urging the Government to act immediately to protect the region as storms threaten to once again wreak havoc.

Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax, and Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, have called on ministers to convene a COBRA meeting straight away and unlock measures needed to keep their constituencies safe “before and not after” any such deluge - nearly a year on from torrents which battered them.

The Met Office has warned of “danger to life” as downpours and gales dubbed “Storm Christoph” are expected this week.

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In a letter to Environment Secretary George Eustice, the Labour MPs said: “Like several other parts of the region, we both now face Amber warnings in our areas for this week due to a combination of rapid snow thaw and heavy rainfall.

Halifax MP Holly LynchHalifax MP Holly Lynch
Halifax MP Holly Lynch

"As with predicted extreme weather events, we remain hopeful that our communities will be spared the worst, however our previous experiences ground us in reality and we seek your urgent assistance to protect our communities.”

They asked that ministers make Personal Protective Equipment available to workers needed on the ground and to put armed forces personnel on stand-by to support emergency services.

Scott Patient, Calderdale council's cabinet member for climate change and resilience, tonight said: "There is a massive amount of concern. Normally we have had quick hits of bad weather but this seems like a long sustained barrage.

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"People are incredibly anxious. I live in Mytholmroyd and we have a flood scheme now which provides some protection but we are the only ones that have that in the area.

"Not just in Calderdale but region-wide, people are a bit frantic about what's going on. It just keeps happening more and more frequently.

"Broadly, what we are looking for is, rather than piecemeal amounts of money after the fact to do civil engineering schemes, to look at the whole catchment.

"We have got the right people round the table but they don't have the funding they need for a more holistic approach. Climate change, which is the reason this is happening , needs tackling from the root.

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"It is all good building walls and multi-million pound schemes, which do provide some reassurance, but they are small fry compared to what needs to be done."

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairsspokesperson said: “Flooding has a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods, but since 2015 the government has invested £496 million in flood defences in Yorkshire – more than any other region – better protecting more than 66,000 properties.

“And earlier this year we doubled our national investment in flood and coastal defences to a record £5.2 billion over six years which will protect hundreds of thousands more homes, and Yorkshire is set to receive its share of this funding.”

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