No meeting of Cobra planned yet for areas due to be hit by flooding, No 10 says

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There are no current plans to hold a Cobra meeting over flooding expected to hit Yorkshire in coming days, Downing Street has said.

A major incident has already been declared in South Yorkshire in anticipation of flooding caused by Storm Cristoph.

And Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones tweeted on Monday evening: “Key risk areas have been inspected over the past 36 hours, sand-bags have been handed out in flood-risk areas and will continue over the next 24 hours.”

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Asked whether MPs’ calls for ministers to convene the Cobra emergency committee would be answered sooner rather than later, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “If there are any plans for a Cobra we will obviously set them out in the usual way.”

Sandbags and flood defence walls have been set up by Whalley residents and business owners. Photo: Kelvin StuttardSandbags and flood defence walls have been set up by Whalley residents and business owners. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard
Sandbags and flood defence walls have been set up by Whalley residents and business owners. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

He said: “But the National Flood Response Centre has been stood up and is coordinating the cross-agency and Government operations on this.

“The important message whilst the alerts are in place is that we urge everybody to follow the Environment Agency’s advice and check their flood risk and sign up to alerts.”

Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said that rain is “initially” the main concern but the picture will change as low pressure could introduce colder air.

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He explained: “As we go through the week and the low pressure that is bringing these fronts of rainfall that are persistent and heavy over the next few days … as that low pressure moves east and out into the North Sea, the winds will become a thing really later in the week.

“Also as the low pressure moves away it pulls down a north-westerly airflow which brings much colder air across the UK again which then presents a further risk of snow.”

Mr Claydon described the situation as “a timeline of different hazards as we go through the week but the first hazard is certainly of rain and that’s reflected in the warnings at the moment”.

The most serious weather warning – amber for rain – has been in place across parts of the Midlands and northern England since Tuesday morning, alongside less serious yellow warnings for rain across Wales, Northern Ireland, northern England and southern Scotland.

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A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: “Flooding has a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods, but since 2015 the government has invested £496 million in flood defences in Yorkshire – more than any other region – better protecting more than 66,000 properties.

“And earlier this year we doubled our national investment in flood and coastal defences to a record £5.2 billion over six years which will protect hundreds of thousands more homes, and Yorkshire is set to receive its share of this funding.”

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