Doncaster mayor says council was not 'given enough advanced warning' of last November's floods

The Environment Agency didn’t have ‘sufficient detail and knowledge’ of relevent data during the initial outbreak of the floods and the council ‘weren’t given enough advanced warning’ - Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has said.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th March 2020, 11:28 am

The mayor did praise the agency and said they had been ‘starved of funding’.

She added both parties now work well in monitoring river levels and building up data.

DMBC (Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council) are said to be ‘continuingly lobbying central government’ for flood defences along the River Don and Mayor Jones said contingencies should be in place from the ‘source to mouth’.

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The village of Fishlake, Doncaster, submerged under flood water. November 09, 2019.

Mayor Jones said: “The Environment Agency like many others have been starved of the correct amount of funding.

“We used to talk about this happening one in a hundred years but we’ve witnessed first hand this isn’t correct. We’ve got homes here in the borough that were flooded in 2007 and flooded several times since on a smaller scale.

“We need proper flood defences from the source to mouth of the River Don.

The River Don runs from the Winscar Reservoir near the Woodhead Pass in Sheffield right to the River Ouse near Goole and into the Humber estuary.

November’s floods affected dozens of communities as a month’s rainfall fell in just one day causing the Don to burst its banks.

Around 700 properties were flooded or deemed ‘unlivable’.

Mayor Jones added: “At the very start, the Environment Agency hadn’t got sufficient detail and knowledge of what was happening when we first had the flooding - we weren’t given enough advanced warning.

“However, working collectively together as a team, we’ve now got far more detailed knowledge and the ability to start modelling in far greater detail because we’ve now got people checking on the rivers.

“Our staff including our flood wardens are on hand keeping close tabs on the situation. We are building up that knowledge so we can be better prepared.”

A spokesman from the Environment Agency said during 2018/19, £200 million was spent to maintain flood defences and staff have carried out more than 90,000 inspections to ‘ensure they remain ready to protect communities’.