WARRINGTON’S two MPs have responded to the town’s flooding crisis which has impacted homes and businesses across the borough in the north and south.
Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols says she will “fight tooth and nail” to get some of the £5.2 billion proposed government investment in flood defence, spent in Warrington, while Warrington South MP Andy Carter is keen to know what more can be done to prevent further flooding.
Mr Carter has been on the ground working with the Council, Environment Agency, Cheshire Police and residents to help get resources where they are needed.
He said: “Having spent Wednesday night and much of Thursday on the ground helping, it’s only when you see the aerial scenes showing the full extent of the flooding you realise how many people have been affected.
“Families have lost so many personal possessions as well as forcing some to evacuate into temporary accommodation. It’s also cut an entire community off.
“It’s incredible to see communities supporting one another, neighbours looking out for each other and a true spirit of togetherness at such a challenging time. Strangers making a brew for emergency services as they worked through the early hours.
“Down the line I’m keen to understand what more can be done to protect homes and families in Dallam from this type of flooding, prioritising the clearing of ditches and improving defences.
The significant investment into strengthening defences along the Mersey has paid off, we need to see what action is needed to protect other areas such as Sankey Bridges too.”
Mr Carter added: “In terms of Government funding, we have increased flood defence funding by 22 per cent, or more than £50 million more each year in real terms, since 2010 and have confirmed a further £5.2 billion of investment over the next six years.”
Meanwhile in Parliament Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols raised the issue of flooding in Warrington, which resulted in house evacuations across the town, with extensive property damage and some road closures in Burtonwood, Croft, Winwick, Orford and Callands.
Ms Nichols asked a question to the Leader of the House of Commons in the backbench Business debate yesterday, focusing on the impact of Storm Christoph on Warrington North residents, the increased prevalence of flooding because of climate change and the resulting need for resilience ‘to end the misery of persistent flooding in our communities.”
In response, Jacob Rees-Mogg said Ms Nichols was ‘right to raise this issue’, the hard work of the Environment Secretary George Eustice in dealing with this and a Government plan to spend £5.2bn on flood and coastal defences. Rees-Mogg made no reference to how much, if any, of this would be spent in Warrington.
Following the debate Ms Nichols said: “My heart goes out to all of those who have been affected by the devastating floods.
“The Emergency Services and Warrington Borough Council have done a remarkable job working through the night to support people, and I urge people to continue to follow the guidance on remaining at home if you are not at immediate risk of flooding to allow them to do their jobs.
“Yesterday I raised the issue in Parliament, as while Storm Christoph has meant record water levels, too many parts of Warrington are blighted by persistent flooding and prevention is always better than cure.
“Warrington deserves its fair share of the Government’s flood defence funding and I will fight tooth and nail to ensure that we do, alongside pushing for better co-ordination of Risk Assessment Management Authorities with responsibility for flooding, to ensure the most efficient response to ongoing issues.”
Meanwhile the borough council’s Chief Executive, Professor Steven Broomhead MBE and Director of Public Health, Thara Raj have issued a joint statement on the latest situation as of 10.30am today.
“We continue to provide support to affected residents and their families alongside our partners. Thankfully, due to the improving weather conditions over the last 24 hours, we are seeing a reduction in flooding levels across the borough and power has been restored to some properties.
“Although this is a reassuring picture, we are still aware that a number of homes remain affected by the flooding, with those in the most severely affected homes remaining evacuated. There are also several roads still closed. We have worked with our partners, including housing providers, to secure alternative accommodation for those most at risk.
“Our priority remains getting people back home as soon as possible. In the meantime, for affected residents and families who have chosen to remain at home despite their properties being breached or their locality being affected by the floods, please stay at home if you are able to do so.
“Wherever possible please avoid going to any community venues that may have opened, as people congregating indoors poses significant risks of coronavirus being transmitted. We have seen many gestures of kindness and goodwill from our communities who are offering support to those affected. If you are receiving food or supplies from others, please make absolutely sure that you remain socially distanced, that you practice good hand hygiene and wear a face covering where necessary. Coronavirus can, and will, spread very easily and will take advantage of any occasion where people are gathering or sharing supplies that may be being passed around.
“If you are able to go out to the shops for essentials, in line with the current coronavirus national restrictions, please be extra cautious on the roads and pavements, as there is a risk of surface water flooding and weather-related debris in places. Please do not drive or walk through any flood water – this is often deeper than it looks and there could be unseen hazards underneath the water, such as raised manhole covers.
Further information and advice
If you’re a homeowner and are concerned about damage to your home, please make sure you speak to your insurance company. If you are in rented accommodation or social housing, please contact your housing provider or landlord who will also be able to provide support.
If you need any further guidance or support, please call us on 01925 443322. Please bear with us as phone lines remain busy.
For the latest flooding updates, please visit warrington.gov.uk/flooding
If you are struggling to source food, feeling worried or isolated, find out more about the council’s safe and well scheme by visiting warrington.gov.uk/safeandwell