Hundreds of Environment Agency staff deployed to tackle floods

Agency urges people to ‘remain vigilant, check their flood risk and plan to stay safe’ amid warnings of more rain to come

People carrying supplies following floods in Bentley of Doncaster Photo: PA

By Richard Johnstone

13 Nov 2019

The Environment Agency has deployed staff across South Yorkshire and other parts of England after flooding that has led to hundreds of people begin forced to leave their homes.

This morning, there are 34 flood warnings issued by the Environment Agency, which means that flooding is expected and residents and businesses need to take immediate action, and a further 73 flood alerts, meaning flooding is possible and people should be prepared.

However, five severe flood warnings in South Yorkshire, which indicate there is a threat to life, have been downgraded since yesterday, according to the flood warnings website.


About 200 Army personnel are in South Yorkshire supporting the flood effort, with a further 200 on standby, and the government has activated the emergency Bellwin scheme to reimburse local authorities for costs in responding to the floods in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government will also provide a Community Recovery Grant to local councils – equivalent to £500 per eligible household - to help communities with their immediate recovery.

According to the EA, approximately 13,500 properties have been protected by flood defences, including nearly 5,000 properties in South Yorkshire alone, since the flooding began last Thursday. Flood storage areas are also being operated to protect 7,000 homes in parts of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

Over 200 staff from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-sponsored public body are on the ground in South Yorkshire supporting local communities affected by the recent devastating flooding, and it has warned that the flood risk remains high for the coming days with rainfall expected on Thursday and Friday.

The Environment Agency said that it is “better prepared than ever” to protect properties and homes in the flood-affected areas, with an additional 40km of temporary barriers, 308,880 sandbags and 72 pumps acquired since the floods of winter 2015/16.

“We continue to work around the clock in our incident rooms and on the ground to reduce flood risk and keep communities safe,” it said in a statement  on Tuesday afternoon. “EA field teams are continuing to work 24/7 to clear debris from rivers, operate flood storage areas and pump away flood water. In Fishlake, ultra-high volume pumps have been deployed to pump away flood water as soon as water levels allow.

Doug Wilson, flood duty manager at the Environment Agency, added that more heavy rain could bring further and severe surface water and river flooding to parts of South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire on Thursday and Friday, and that areas of South Yorkshire will remain affected by ongoing high river levels today through to Saturday.

“The Environment Agency has teams working around the clock on the ground erecting temporary barriers and delivering sandbags to areas expecting further rainfall,” he said.

“Our incident rooms remain open 24 hours a day and we are continuing to work closely with local authorities and partners. People should remain vigilant, check their flood risk and plan to stay safe. We advise people to stay away from swollen rivers and not to walk or drive through flood water as just 30cm of flowing water is enough to move your car.”

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