Sunday, December 10

Fresh Power Cuts Slow Storm Desmond Recovery



Engineers will begin restoring power to 42,000 properties in the North West after unforeseen flood damage at one of the city’s main substations caused another widespread outage on Monday afternoon.

More than 19,000 Electricity North West customers in Lancaster are still relying on emergency generators which were mobilised on Sunday night as the damage caused by Storm Desmond became clear.

In Cumbria, an estimated 1,450 properties remain without power, as engineers wait for floodwaters to recede so they can assess the damage and make essential repairs.

In some cases, specialists have only been able to gain access to substations by boat.

Sixteen severe flood warnings remain in place across northwest England, signalling a danger to life.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for rainfall across northern England and parts of Scotland, which will be in place from 6am on Wednesday to 9am on Thursday.

Forecasters are warning that “some very strong winds” and gusts of up to 60mph are also possible, while the downpours on saturated ground could cause further flooding.

Dame Julia Slingo, the Met Office’s chief scientist, has warned “all the evidence” suggests climate change has contributed to the “extraordinary” floods.

Meanwhile, Environment Secretary Liz Truss has said there had been a “number of weather-related fatalities” as a result of the “unprecedented” conditions over the weekend.

A body thought to be that of an elderly man was discovered in the swollen River Kent in Cumbria, while police in Ireland have recovered the body of a 70-year-old man in Co Monaghan.

With spending on flood defences due to fall by 14% this year – the equivalent of a £116m drop in budgets compared to 2014/15 – the Government has said it will “look again” at what is being built, while David Cameron has vowed to examine whether enough money is being spent on barriers.

The Prime Minister also admitted that multi-million pound defences – which were upgraded in 2010 to withstand a “once in 100 years” flood – “weren’t enough on this occasion”.