Storm Eunice

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 21st February 2022.

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Photo of Gavin Newlands Gavin Newlands Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Transport) 6:00 pm, 21st February 2022

Following Storms Arwen and Barra in November and December, and Storms Malik and Corrie in late January, we have now had three named storms in a week: Dudley, Eunice and Franklin. There will potentially be a fourth named storm in eight days, with Storm Gladys later this week. It seems this winter will not go quietly.

Naming storms sometimes dulls their impact, but the truth is that these storms’ heavy rain and snowfall, combined with record-breaking winds, have caused huge damage to buildings, environmental destruction and, sadly, the loss of four lives to uprooted trees, flying debris and flooding. My sympathies are with all those affected.

I join the shadow Secretary of State in thanking all the engineers who restored power to homes across the country and, indeed, the Network Rail engineers who restored the track and kept us moving. I am very sympathetic to his points about compensation payments.

Climate change has seen an increased frequency of storms, with Storm Franklin currently giving rise to flood warnings in parts of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Will the Secretary of State confirm that he will do all he can to ensure that his Government keep their climate pledges and the large spending commitments that go with them? Will he ignore his Back Benchers who seem to be obsessed with the UK reneging on its agreements? Following COP26, what are we doing to discuss future international responses to worldwide extreme weather?

Finally, Eunice left about 1.4 million homes without power, and Storm Arwen affected more than 1 million homes, including thousands in Aberdeenshire that were without power for well over a week. What short-term and long-term plans are being considered by the UK Government to strengthen our energy resilience and infrastructure? Crucially, what is being done to ensure we do not see a repeat of last year, when thousands were without power for so long?