Flood defences to be reviewed after Storm Desmond devastation

Cameron Pledges to Repay Councils for Flood Costs

The Government will "look again" at flood defences following the devastation caused by Storm Desmond as thousands of homes were damaged and a body was discovered in a swollen river.

David Cameron is to visit areas badly hit by the floods amid mounting criticism of multimillion-pound defences which failed to keep the deluge of water out of people's homes.

The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergency response committee on Monday morning as northern England and Scotland braced themselves for more heavy rain.

After Cumbria, the county worst affected by Storm Desmond, declared a major incident over the weekend, the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for rain across north west England and western Scotland this week.

More than 45 severe flood warnings are in place, meaning there is a danger to life, across the North West, along with dozens of less serious flood warnings and flood alerts over northern England and Wales.

An underwater search team is recovering a body found in Kendal in Cumbria after reports that an elderly man had fallen into the River Kent on Sunday morning.

More than 2,000 homes and businesses in the county were flooded and almost 60,000 homes in the county were left without power throughout Sunday as the floods damaged substations and caused electrical faults.

Electricity North West said around 2,600 properties in Cumbria remained without power on Monday morning because of 11 separate faults caused by flooding.

In Carlisle, the Army was sent to help support emergency services evacuating people from their homes in streets where cars were almost entirely submerged.

Around 40 schools remained closed, while the disruption led to the cancellation of appointments and routine business across NHS hospitals and services.

The Cobra meeting had agreed that the Government "should now look again at ... the plans that we have in place and the flood defences that already exist and whether there needs to be adjustment", the Prime Minister's spokeswoman said.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss will set out more details of the response from the Government, which has already committed to a £2.3 billion programme of flood defences over six years, in an oral statement to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon.

Cumbria County Council leader Stewart Young has called for an investigation into the county's flood defences after £45 million was invested since catastrophic floods in 2005.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "I will be talking to our local MPs later today and if the Environment Agency needs to revisit them then that's what's going to have to happen, because we can't continue to have events like this in Cumbria, we just won't be able to cope."

The discovery of the body in the River Kent comes after the death of 90-year-old Ernie Crouch who was believed to have been blown into the side of a moving bus by strong winds near Finchley Central Tube station in London.

Tributes poured in for the keen Arsenal FC supporter, with the Premier League club tweeting: "Everyone at Arsenal Football Club is saddened to learn of the passing of lifelong fan Ernie Crouch. May he rest in peace."

Cumbria rain gauge figures showed a record amount fell in the 24 hours between Friday and Saturday evenings, with 13.4in (341mm) registered in Honister - more than a month's worth of rain in just one day.

Power has been restored to all homes in North Wales after heavy rain and wind left 700 without power on Saturday. And in Northern Ireland, major clean-up operations were under way in parts of Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh after weekend flooding damaged homes and businesses.

An appeal by Cumbria Community Foundation to raise £1 million to support vulnerable individuals and families who have been badly affected by the floods is under way and has already raised more than £260,000.