Wednesday, December 30, 2015

David Cameron Defends Flood Record as Northern England Is Drenched (VIDEO)

At the New York Times:

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron walked the flooded streets of York on Monday as Britain’s Environment Agency warned that the country needed “a complete rethink” of its flood defenses.

Thousands of people in the north of England spent another day dealing with what they called unprecedented flooding, with roads in York and in nearby Leeds still underwater and some electricity cut off. David Rooke, the deputy chief executive of the Environment Agency, said that “we are moving from known extremes to unknown extremes.”

Some scientists speculated that the effects of climate change could be evident in a year of record flooding. “We are having more severe floods in the U.K. than 10 years ago,” said Reza Ahmadian, a lecturer on water management at Cardiff University. “This is not something just happening in the U.K. — and we will see more and more of this.”

He added, “We need to be more creative about flood defenses.”

Mr. Ahmadian suggested that building temporary reservoirs for flood relief in less populated areas could be more effective than building ever-higher and more expensive flood walls, which “just create further problems downstream.”

Mr. Cameron defended the government’s record on flood defenses, saying that it had committed to spending 2.3 billion pounds, about $3.4 billion, over the next six years and that he would consider doing more.

“Let’s have a look and see whether more needs to be done and whether the flood defenses need to be made even higher than they are already,” he told Sky News. Over the weekend, he had deployed several hundred soldiers to help with flood defenses.

Officials in Leeds, about 25 miles southwest of York, criticized Mr. Cameron for not coming there and said his government blocked a more expensive flood-prevention plan in 2011. Judith Blake, the Labour Party leader of Leeds City Council, said the government had favored the south of England over the north, echoing the Yorkshire Evening Post, which wrote on its front page on Monday, “A northern powerhouse is nothing when it is under several feet of mucky water.”

Mr. Cameron rejected the claims of southern bias. “We spend more per head of the population on flood defenses in the north than we do in the south,” he said. “The key thing is to spend the money where it is needed.”
Also, at London's Daily Mail, "David Cameron faces the wrath of flood victims as he is heckled about government cuts during visit to flood hit-areas," and "Ancient Yorkshire bridge collapses in the floods as Storm Frank is set to bring MORE misery across Britain tonight with six inches of rain and 80mph winds on the way."

More, "Flood victims' homes are targeted by LOOTERS: Thieves steal from submerged properties as Storm Frank threatens six inches more rain and 80mph gales to pile more misery on embattled families."