Government emergency COBRA meeting to be held - five days after Derbyshire towns flooded

The Government is to hold a meeting of the emergency COBRA committee five days after parts of Derbyshire suffered the worst flooding in more than a decade.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 9:44 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 9:45 am
Flooding in Matlock

The decision was announced last night and is to be chaired by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The prime minister is to chair a meeting of the government's emergency committee later in response to floods in northern England.

Floods trigger more road closures in Derbyshire- updated listThe Environment Agency has 38 flood warnings in place as well as five severe warnings on the River Don in South Yorkshire.

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About 400 homes have been flooded and 1,200 properties evacuated.

A yellow warning for rain remains in place over parts of Yorkshire and the East Midlands for Tuesday and Thursday.

Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has sent a letter to Boris Johnson asking him to “hold a COBRA meeting and take personal charge of the government’s response to the devastating flooding we have seen over the past few days”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Derbyshire as council offers funding amid floods miseryHe has also called for the government to ensure “every resource is being utilised to aid those that need it and protect against future potential floods” and “that the insurance industry fulfils its responsibilities”.

Addressing the regional imbalance in funding for flood defences Jeremy Corbyn said: “If this had happened in Surrey, not Yorkshire or the East Midlands, it seems far more likely that a national emergency would have been declared.”

Analysis by the Labour Party claims that flood response services have faced crippling cuts under the Tories, with frontline agency staffing numbers slashed by more than a fifth.

Since the Tories came to power, fire and rescue services across the country have been cut by over £300 million in real terms, shedding 23 percent of their frontline staff.

In South and West Yorkshire firefighters have been cut by 25 and 36 per cent respectively. Whilst Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have seen a cut of 11 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

The Environment Agency, which is a tier one responder responsible for preparing emergency flooding plans and responding when flooding occurs, has lost 20 per cent of its staff.

LA Labour Party spokesman said the agency’s ability to respond to flooding incidents has been compromised by insufficient funding, with most incident response roles now filled on a voluntary basis by staff working overtime.