Severe flooding could cut off more villages this week, Met Office warns

Sarah Knapton
Locals in Fishlake, Yorkshire have had to wade through waist-deep water  - PA

Severe flooding could cut off more villages this week, The Met Office has warned, as locals questioned the slow response in tackling the growing crisis. 

More than 100 flood warnings were in place overnight, and the forecaster said that more heavy rain was due, which could isolate some communities for several days. 

Residents in the Yorkshire village of Fishlake criticised the government for taking four days to call an emergency Cobra meeting, while others said the area had not flooded for nearly 100 years, and blamed recent Environment Agency defences at Sheffield for pushing water from the River Don downstream.

Pam Webb, whose spa business was destroyed in the flood, said: “Cobra is only just meeting now, days later. They should have met on Saturday. Just because there is an election doesn’t mean everything stops.

“We need to have this declared a national emergency so we can get the resources in her quickly. The delay has been appalling.”

 Pam Webb outside Truffle Lodge, her home in Fishlake, near Doncaster  Credit: Joe Giddens PA 

The Environment Agencysaid it had more than 200 staff on the ground in south Yorkshire.

But resident Scott Williams, 46, a geologist, added: “The Environment Agency need to get pumping and they need to start now.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn branded the government's response as ‘woeful’ while Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said it was not taking it seriously enough.

Mr Corbyn said if the flooding had happened in Surrey in the South East, it ‘would have been a very different story’.

Last night Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said funds will be made available to businesses affected by flooding.

He added: “The ground is so waterlogged across large parts of the country that we simply have to prepare for more floods this winter.

“The worry for me is that there are some people who are continuing not to listen to the advice of the emergency services.

“I would just say to people - the emergency services do have sound advice. When they advise you to evacuate, you should do so.”

The Prime Minister said residents should evacuate when they are asked to Credit: Danny Lawson PA

Only around half the 700 residents of Fishlake, near Doncaster, have left the village and those who stayed behind have faced waist-high floods.

The Telegraph joined the RSPCA on a rescue mission to help a man who in his 80s who was forced to leave his rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs and cockerels behind when he fled his bungalow.

Inspector Andy Bostock said: “We had a call about the animals from the owner. Sadly some of them had died as the water levels rose but many survived.”

One elderly couple remained marooned in their home last night. Their house narrowly escaped flooding but deep water in the street has kept them off completely from the rest of the village.  Volunteers have been helping keep them supplied with food and the police are regularly checking on them.

Wendy Brownbridge, 66, Church warden at St Cuthberts which has been coordinating supplies for the stranded, said: “Something has to be done on a national level to prevent this happening again. 

“So much land now is taken up by huge car parks and large factories and the water runs straight off them into the drains.”

A car sits in flood water in Fishlake Credit: Anthony Devlin Getty  

Downpours last week meant several areas in Yorkshire and the East Midlands were struck by a month's worth of rain in a single day.

But in a new warning issued on Tuesday, the Met Office warned that further rain could cause buildings to collapse and towns and villages to be cut off for several days in South Yorkshire and the East Midlands.

Five severe flood warnings from the Environment Agency remain in place around Doncaster, warning of a danger to life in the areas around the River Don at Bentley, Fishlake, Kirk Bramwith, South Bramwith and Willow Bridge Caravan Site.

The Met Office has a yellow weather warning for rain in place until midday on Tuesday, covering parts of Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Sheffield.

A yellow Met Office weather warning is also in place for North Wales and across the north of England for high winds.