River levels recede in North of England as temperatures plunge


River levels across the north of England have started to recede following more downpours after the week's devastating floods.

Saturday's wet weather has given way to icy conditions with a sharp temperature drop, with icy patches and freezing fog also forecast for Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.

Heavy rainfall prompted up to 80 flood warnings in northern England at one stage but the number has plummeted today with a respite from the downpours.

Areas affected by flood warnings include large parts of east Lancashire including Pendle, the Ribble Valley and Burnley, and West Yorkshire including Leeds, Dewsbury, Batley, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Cleckheaton.

Elsewhere, flood warnings were also issued in Preston, York and Rochdale.

A severe flood warning - which is classed as a danger to life - issued on Saturday for the west Lancashire village of St Michael's remains in place.

Many householders in the village, which lies on the River Wyre, were forced to leave their homes earlier this week from the effects of Storm Desmond.

Work has been continuing to temporarily fix the breached defences with sandbags and clay but the further deluge halted that progress.

Residents who took police advice to leave their homes were accommodated overnight at the nearby Garstang Leisure centre, Lancashire Police said.

Electricity North West said about 400 properties in Cumbria remain without power due to last weekend's flood damage, with its engineers continuing to carry out door-to-door safety checks.

Meanwhile the Environment Secretary has announced new flood protection measures for Cumbria, the worst-affected county, will be worked on by a new group formed to reduce the impact of extreme weather.

The Cumbrian Floods Partnership group will examine what improvements need to be made to flood defences in the worst-affected communities in the north of England, which have been battered by record levels of rainfall this winter.

The group will look at ways to slow vital rivers to reduce the intensity of water flow at peak times, and build stronger links between flood defence planning and local residents, Elizabeth Truss said.

Ms Truss also announced a National Flood Resilience Review and said the Environment Department would reassess how it calculates flood risk, as well as updating the Government's "worst-case scenario" planning.

She said: "We are already spending £2.3 billion over the next six years to better protect 300,000 homes from flooding, but we need to be sure we have the very best possible plans in place for flood prevention and protection across the whole country.

"We will take prompt action where we identify any gaps in our approach and where our defences and modelling need strengthening."