Questions on Floods


Yesterday in the House of Commons, Rachael Maskell MP questioned the Secretary of State about the Foss Barrier and York's flooding. You can watch the video above and read the transcript from Hansard below:

Rachael Maskell Shadow Minister (Defence)

I thank public sector workers and the incredible volunteers for the outstanding support that they gave residents and businesses in York over Christmas. Successive reports over many years by the Environment Agency and the city council have highlighted the risk that the Foss barrier in York would not be able to manage the capacity of water in the River Foss at times such as this. Given that that concern has been consistently highlighted for years, why were the barrier pumps not upgraded, as that could have saved hundreds of homes and businesses from flooding?

Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I was also pleased to meet the hon. Lady at the Environment Agency’s offices in York. The Foss barrier was under review at the time the incident happened, and the Prime Minister has said that he will spend £10 million of Government money on upgrading that barrier to ensure that it has sufficient pumping capacity to deal with the additional volumes. In all rivers across Yorkshire and Lancashire we are facing higher river flows than we have ever seen before, and we must consider our defences in light of that. We have made an initial commitment to upgrade the pumps at the Foss barrier, and we will certainly look more widely to ensure that we are sufficiently resilient to deal with these new weather challenges.

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