I have spoken to many people in the last few days who have questioned the effectiveness of the early warning flood system and many more who are understandably concerned about the costs of clearing up after the flooding.
I asked the Minister why residents of Tapton Terrace only received a call from the early warning system after their houses had flooded and when the Government will announce what financial support will be available to flood victims and the Council.
Toby Perkins: Thank you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker. Flood Babet hit Chesterfield very hard on Friday with River Rother and River Hipper bursting their banks. Tragically, 83-year-old Maureen Gilbert of Tapton Terrace lost her life in her own home and her death has hit both her family and her neighbours very hard. Can I, on behalf of the whole House send our condolences to the family.
As many as 400 homes across Brampton, Birdholme, Riverside and Tapton Terrace have been flooded, as well as countless businesses that now face a fight for their survival. It’s particularly hard to bear as the vast majority of these properties are the very same ones that were flooded in 2007, despite the Government implementing schemes to protect the River Rother.
I would like to ask the Minister why residents on Tapton Terrace only received a phone call from the early warning system after their houses had already been flooded? What assessment has the Minister made of the success of the early warning system and the financial costs facing flood victims and the Council are absolutely huge. Can the Minister explain when the Department for Levelling Up will confirm that residents qualify for financial support from Flood Recovery Framework and that the Council will be covered for the huge additional costs via the Bellwin Scheme and how quickly will the Government be in a position to announce that?
Minister: I thank him for that and I too, would like to reiterate our condolences to the family of Maureen. Nothing could be more tragic, so huge sympathies go out to the family and actually, we were in touch over the weekend weren’t we with you feeding that straight in and indeed the situation on Tapton Terrace which I fed into the Environment Agency. I know they are working very closely with people up there to fully review what happened. So, that would be part of the review that we instigate. In terms of cost of clear up, of course the Bellwin Scheme is something that’s triggered by the DLUHC department. They are the recovery department and, as I said earlier, we will be meeting to discuss whether that’s appropriate, when it would be appropriate and who might apply for it.