UK Government abandoned the rural north in the aftermath of Storm Arwen, says CLA

Same mistakes cannot be made again as Storm Barra hits already-devastated rural communities
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The CLA has said the government’s poor response to Storm Arwen shows no progress has been made in ‘levelling up’ the countryside.

The UK Government appears to be uninterested in helping rural communities devastated by Storm Arwen.

Thousands of homes were left without power in many small villages which, only until this week, were reconnected with power, with an enormous toll placed on businesses through damaged buildings and lost earnings. Some farms are reporting as having lost as many as 1,000 trees.

Government eventually called in the army for logistical support after a long delay. Whilst Ministers have criticised energy companies, the CLA argued it was government’s responsibility to lead the response.

The CLA has called on Government to develop an Emergency Recovery Scheme similar to those created in the aftermath of other natural events such as flooding.

As Storm Barra hits rural communities for a second time in as many weeks, the Scheme could help rural communities bounce back more quickly after storms.

CLA President Mark Tufnell said:

“The impact on rural communities in the north of England is every bit as severe as the South East suffered in 1987 – but with only a fraction of the government support and public interest. People in these communities are legitimately asking where is the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“With thousands of homes still without power, I would have expected a huge government response. In an emergency of this scale, only Ministers have the authority to mobilise support from government agencies and the private sector to get these communities back on their feet. But that doesn’t appear to have happened. No COBR, no emergency response coordination, nothing.

Key contact:

Jonathan Roberts
Jonathan Roberts Director of External Affairs, London