Storm Dennis: Minister says climate change means government can’t protect everyone from flooding

A flooded street in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. (AFP via Getty Images)

A minister has said climate change means the government cannot protect every household from flooding.

New environment minister George Eustice claimed the government had not been caught off-guard by the floods caused by Storm Dennis.

Dennis was the second major storm to hit the UK in a week, following the heavy rain, flooding and 90mph winds brought by Storm Ciara the previous weekend.

During a visit to York to discuss tackling flooding, Eustice told Sky News: "We've done a huge amount – we can't do anything about these extreme weather events, but the steps we've taken have meant the impact of those weather events have affected fewer properties."

A man rescues a floating plant pot in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. (AFP via Getty Images)
A car washed away in Nantgarw, south Wales, by Storm Dennis. (PA Images via Getty Images)
Environment secretary George Eustice says the government can't protect every household from flooding. (Getty)

But he added: "There is always more that can be done.

Read more: Major incidents declared across the UK over Storm Dennis floods

"We'll never be able to protect every single household, just because of the nature of climate change and the fact that these weather events are becoming more extreme, but we've done everything that we can do with a significant sum of money, and there's more to come."

Parts of the UK were buffeted with winds of more than 90mph during Storm Dennis, while more than a month's worth of rain fell in 48 hours in places.

Roads and railways were flooded on Sunday as Britain experienced torrential downpours and high winds.

Earlier, the Ministry of Defence deployed Army personnel to assist people in West Yorkshire areas badly hit by flooding during Storm Ciara.

The situation was said to be "life-threatening" in south Wales, where the Met Office issued a red warning due to heavy rainfall and flooding risk.

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The Environment Agency’s (EA) flood and coastal risk management executive director John Curtin said there had been a record number of flood warnings and alerts in force.

The EA said on Sunday that there had been more than 600 flood warnings and flood alerts in place across England – covering an area from Scotland's River Tweed to the rivers of west Cornwall.

But the government was criticised for its response to the extreme weather, including a Tory MP telling it to "pull its finger out".

A family are rescued from a property on Oxford Street in Nantgarw, Wales. (Getty Images)

Conservative MP Philip Davies told the Daily Telegraph on Monday that "precious little" had been done since the floods in 2015 to prevent his constituents in Shipley, West Yorkshire, being flooded again during the two most recent storms.

He added: "My constituents who were flooded were the same people who were flooded on Boxing Day 2015.

Read more: Flights cancelled as Storm Dennis set to be 'worse' than Storm Ciara

"It's not as if there hasn't been enough time to do something. The government needs to pull its finger out.

"What has been done to stop it happening again? Precious little."

Wales bore the brunt of much of Storm Dennis, the Met Office said.

A flooded street in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire. (AFP via Getty Images)

Winds of more than 80mph were recorded across parts of the country, with the highest measuring 91mph in Aberdaron in North Wales on Saturday.

A total of 156.2mm of rain fell at Crai Reservoir in Powys in the 48 hours from Friday to Sunday morning, it added.

The average monthly rainfall for February in Wales is 111.1mm, the Met Office said. A yellow weather warning for wind is in place until 11am on Monday.

Severe flood warnings were also still in place for the rivers Lymn and Steeping in Lincolnshire, as well as the River Teme in parts of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.

South Wales Police said they had declared a major incident due to the flooding and severe weather.