Steve Beasant

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Great Grimsby and Councillor for the East Marsh Learn more

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Greg Mulholland praises local response to flooding and urges more investment in flood defences

by Steve Beasant on 29 December, 2015

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Following Boxing Day floods which hit Otley and the wider region, Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West Greg Mulholland has praised the response of local residents, businesses and also the emergency services. He has also repeated calls for more investment in flood defences and putting them in place quickly, including on the River Wharfe.

Heavy rain meant flood warnings were issued across northern England, and Saturday saw the River Wharfe rise from its typical level of 0.6 metres in Otley to 2 metres. The River Aire also burst its banks, causing further devastation in and around Leeds city centre.

Greg Mulholland visited families in Otley whose houses had been flooded and joined in the town’s clear-up on Sunday.

He also said there needed to be discussions to look at how preparation for flooding could be improved, having raised the matter in Parliament as early as 2011, when he met with environment ministers to highlight the need for flood defences in Leeds. Following a long-running campaign alongside fellow Leeds MPs, 2013 saw ministers grant £32.5mn for flood defences in Leeds city centre.

Greg Mulholland repeated calls for more investment in flood defences and putting them in place quickly, including looking at schemes on the River Wharfe too.

Commenting, he said:

“The flooding has been worse than expected and devastating in some areas, we must do all we can to help and support those who have had homes, businesses and farms flooded.

“Many communities in the Wharfe and Aire valleys have been affected and will need support. In my constituency, Otley was the worst area affected with homes flooded for the first time in years and it was heartbreaking to visit families who had seen their homes flood on Boxing Day.

“There has been a magnificent community response with many people offering help and shelter, people were out yesterday assisting with the clear-up on foot and others briefing vans and cars to shift damaged furniture and carpets. B & TS Building Supplies made a fantastic contribution by delivering sandbags to affected homes, Otley Lions have offered support and other people have offered shelter and there is already a fundraising effort going on, with donations being accepted by the Black Horse and online. So a huge thanks to all who have helped so far, the work will carry on for some days.

“I also want to thank the police, fire and rescue service and council staff who worked around the clock dealing with the floods and the devastation they caused over such a wide area. A particular thanks to the fantastic crew from Otley Fire Station who came out to pump water from homes on Farnley Lane, the worst affected area in Otley.

“There now needs to be discussions on how we can be better prepared for floods, including looking at new flood defences. The floods and unseasonably high levels of rain and warm temperatures are also a powerful reminder of the need to do more to tackle climate change, locally, nationally and internationally”.

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