Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:14 pm on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:14 pm, 4th March 2020

I beg to move an amendment, leave out from “volunteers” to end and insert:

“acknowledges that following the Pitt Review in 2008, local and national response was significantly improved through the establishment of Local Resilience Forums which have led to partnership working and in addition, the Cross Review in 2018 which led to the publication of new guidance on multi-agency flood plans;
further acknowledges that following the National Flood Resilience Review in 2016 there were further improvements through the establishment of the National Flood Response Centre and improved weather and flood forecasting capabilities, but recognises that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and that further investment in flood defence infrastructure will be necessary in the years ahead.”

We have had three storms in three weeks affecting our Union, from Cornwall right up to the north of Scotland and Northern Ireland, with winds of up to 70 mph and waves of snow, ice and rain, making this the wettest February on record. Many areas have already received more than double their average rainfall for February. Some have received four times the average monthly rainfall and others have experienced a month’s worth of rain in just 24 hours. Eighteen river gauges across 13 rivers recorded their highest levels on record during, or triggered by, Storms Ciara, Dennis or Jorge. These are records that no one wants to see broken. Even if there are no further significant storms in March, it could still take three to four weeks for water to drain from the washlands in the East Yorkshire area.

These storms at the end of an incredibly wet winter have brought consequences across the country as river systems were overwhelmed. Nothing can diminish the suffering felt across our country in communities affected by recent storms. Experiencing flooding, especially repeated flooding, is traumatic and distressing for the communities affected, and sadly over 3,400 properties have been flooded this February, with significant damage caused.