Boris Johnson says major flooding in North is ‘not a national emergency’

Boris Johnson has said major flooding across swathes of northern England is not a “national emergency”, during a visit to an affected area. The prime minister made the comments in Matlock, Derbyshire, near where a woman died after being swept away after a river breached its banks.  Mr Johnson said the government had set aside billions for flood defences and…

Boris Johnson has said major flooding across swathes of northern England is not a “national emergency”, during a visit to an affected area.

The prime minister made the comments in Matlock, Derbyshire, near where a woman died after being swept away after a river breached its banks. 

Mr Johnson said the government had set aside billions for flood defences and preparations due to an increase in serious flooding “perhaps because of building, almost certainly because of climate change”.

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 “You’ve got to face the reality that places like this are vulnerable to flooding – we’re going to see more of it,” the prime minister said. 

However, he said the recent bout of floods “is not looking like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency”.

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rightCreated with Sketch.

On Saturday morning, the Environment Agency gave seven “danger to life” severe flood warnings along the River Don in Yorkshire. Other warnings remain in place across the UK. 

However, Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates told the BBC: “I think the most important thing is that the areas which have been affected by floods should avoid rain and get some respite.”

The North and the Midlands have all seen torrential rain and flooding over the past few days, with some areas seeing a month’s rainfall in just 24 hours.

Around 35 home were evacuated in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, after a collapsed quarry triggered a mudslide. People were seen leaving their homes in boats in one Doncaster street. 

 South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said it had rescued more than 100 stranded people on Thursday night.

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Transport has also been disrupted over the past days, after roads and train routes were blocked following torrential rain

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader, said before his visit to the Don Valley in  South Yorkshire: “This is what a climate and environment emergency looks like.

“Every year we don’t act means higher flood waters, more homes ruined and more lives at risk.

“Flooding isn’t a natural disaster – it’s human-made. Not only are the government’s plans to tackle the climate emergency weak, they’ve failed to prepare communities by investing in flood prevention and Tory cuts have stretched emergency services to breaking point.”

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