06 August 2023

Nurse criticises emergency response to Yorkshire floods as Storm Antoni hits UK

06 August 2023

A nurse has criticised the emergency response to his town being hit by flooding following heavy rainfall as Storm Antoni swept across the UK.

Paul Jones-King, 47, who has lived in Loftus, North Yorkshire, for 18 years, said he is “angry” and “really frustrated” after his home was flooded on Saturday due to the town’s drainage system – which he said is “not able to cope” with heavy rainfall.

Mr Jones-King, who said this is the second time in three years that the town has suffered with flooding due to heavy rain, claimed the response from authorities had been “poor”.

“I just want to cry to be honest with you,” Mr Jones-King told the PA news agency.

“I’m a nurse, I finished a night shift this morning, was sat having a cup of coffee before I was due to go to bed, and literally within 10 minutes your house is flooding.

He added: “Everyone is just arguing among themselves, no-one has done anything, and we’ve flooded again.”

Mr Jones-King estimated that around 20 properties in the nearby area will have been affected by the flooding.

He criticised both the Environment Agency and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council over the incident.

He said: “It really is down to the Environment Agency to come up with a solution rather than just saying, ‘unfortunately you’re in a flooded area’.”

He added: “It’s a real poor response from Redcar and Cleveland Council. There’s no support, they’ve dumped some bags, and that’s it, they’ve gone.

“Delivering sandbags seven hours after an event is just a complete waste of time for everybody.”

Mr Jones-King said that it took “a good few months” to recover from the flooding that occurred three years ago, adding that he feels “stuck in limbo” as further heavy rainfall from Storm Antoni is forecast for the rest of the day.

A spokesman for the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council said: “The council responded immediately when called out to the need for help and a crew was deployed to the scene by early morning. Further crews were mobilised throughout the morning as the scale of the flooding became apparent.

“The crews were at the scene all day to work with the emergency services to keep people safe. This work included making roads safe to use, clearing gulleys to allow the water to run away and providing help to residents to protect their homes.

“The work to repair damage caused will continue in the coming days and we would like to thank all those who gave their time and expertise to ensure people were safe in the aftermath of the flooding.”

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “This morning (Saturday), following heavy rainfall, the Environment Agency responded to reports of rapidly rising water levels at Loftus Beck which has led to the flooding of properties in Loftus.

“We also received reports of flooding from surface water in Loftus and its surrounding areas.

“Our operational teams have been on site and are monitoring the situation. We have been working closely with our partners including Redcar & Cleveland Council, the local police and the local fire service.”

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