UK

More than 15,000 homes hit by winter floods, says LGA

People in a boat, York city centre, December 2015 Image copyright PA
Image caption York was one of eight areas that flooded during last winter's storms, the LGA said

More than 15,000 homes and businesses in just eight council areas were flooded in last winter's storms, a survey has revealed.

The research for the Local Government Association found that councils were still helping flood-hit homes recover.

Cumbria was the worst hit, it said. Calderdale, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, York, Leeds, Northumberland and Kirklees all suffered too.

Control of flood defence funds should be devolved, the LGA said.

The government should also bring in mandatory anti-flood requirements for new homes in building regulations, such as raised electrical sockets and wiring, ventilation brick covers, sealed floors and raised damp courses, it said.

A flood resilience review by the government into the winter storms outlined £12.5m for temporary defences such as barriers and high-volume water pumps at strategic areas.

Cumbria saw 6,568 homes and 897 businesses flooded, according to the LGA figures. The figures for the other areas were:

  • Calderdale 2,135 and 945
  • Lancashire 2,090 and 533
  • North Yorkshire 404 and 96
  • York 350 and 157
  • Leeds 298 and 375
  • Northumberland 197 and 90
  • Kirklees 37 and 65
Image copyright PA
Image caption The LGA said 350 homes were flooded in York during last winter's storms

Councils are encouraging people to check if they are at risk of flooding this year, to sign up to flood warnings and make sure their homes are prepared.

Martin Tett, LGA environment spokesman, said: "Councils are doing everything they can to protect households and businesses from the possibility of further devastating flooding this winter.

"Such was the severity of last year's storms, some councils, who have experienced significant reductions to their core funding, are still helping residents to recover even now."

'Councils best placed'

He said devolving funding to local areas would support projects that reflected needs such as protecting key roads and bridges to keep residents and businesses moving.

"Councils know their local areas and are best placed to help families get back on their feet," he said.

"The government must be more flexible in its approach to flood funding."

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the government had already provided almost £300m to help homeowners and businesses, and continued to work with local councils to help those affected.

"Our record £2.5bn investment will better protect 300,000 homes from flooding by 2021 and we're working closely with local councils, utility companies and residents to develop solutions tailored to local communities," the spokesperson said.

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