Liz Truss, the UK environment secretary, told parliament on 05 January 2016, that around 16,000 properties were flooded in England in December 2015.
The minister said that according to the UK’s Met Office, “we have had the wettest December in a century. In fact, the north-west faced the wettest December on record.”
According to the minister’s figures, approximately 9,000 properties were flooded on 26 December 2015 in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester after heavy rain brought by Storm Eva. Earlier 7,000 homes and businesses in Cumbria were flooded after record rainfall brought by Storm Desmond.
Liz Truss added that “While of little consolation to those who have been flooded, it is important to note that flood defences have protected over 20,000 properties from being flooded during December”.
The minster went on to tell MPs that “Since Storm Eva passed, our focus has been on doing everything we can to help Yorkshire and Lancashire get back up and running. The Prime Minister announced that £40 million would be spent on repairing defences, including £10 million on upgrading the Foss barrier with new pumps to ensure that it can cope with higher volumes of water. We are providing £60 million of help for local residents, businesses and farmers. That help has been provided in record time. Storm Eva took place on 26 December and we made the first payments to local authorities on 29 December so that they can help businesses and residents straight away”.
The full parliamentary debate can be found here.
Latest stats show that December 2015 was the wettest calendar month ever in our records dating back to 1910 pic.twitter.com/rcAk9lLGj8
— Met Office (@metoffice) January 5, 2016
More Rain and Flood Warnings for UK
Meanwhile the Environment Agency have warned that further heavy rain is expected across England over the next few days, and is urging communities to remain vigilant as there is a risk of further flooding.
The Environment Agency statement said:
“As showers are set to fall on areas of saturated ground, there is the potential for further flooding today in parts of north-east and south-east England, as well as parts of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, mainly around the River Severn. This has the potential to disrupt travel in these areas”.
There are currently 24 flood warnings and 103 alerts in force in England and Wales. Check all flood warnings for England and Wales here.
There are also numerous flood warnings in place in Scotland. For information on all flood warnings in Scotland, see the SEPA website here.
Environment Agency pumps are still being used in parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire to pump away flood water. Demountable flood barriers remain in place on the River Severn at Shrewsbury and Bewdley.
Clare Dinnis, Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said:
“As we continue to support communities that have been affected by flooding our teams are working around the clock to repair flood defences, protect communities, and pump away flood water.
“Wednesday will see further heavy showers and we are keeping a close watch on the situation and will issue further flood warnings as required.”
— Environment Agency (@EnvAgency) January 5, 2016