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Floods Minister visits Cumbria church as snow hits northern Britain

Sun 13 Dec 2015
By Aaron James

As northern Britain continues to recover from the flooding of Storm Desmond, it's now been hit with two inches of snow caused by Storm Eva.

The snow struck on Friday and Saturday amid 38 flood warnings in the north east and north west as of Sunday morning - one of them marked as "severe" and a "danger to life".

The turn in weather comes as the Environment Secretary Liz Truss set up a new group to try and reduce the impact of extreme weather on Cumbria, which has seen record levels of rainfall so far this winter.

Liz Truss said it'll look at what improvements need to be made to improve flood defences, slow vital rivers, and build stronger links between flood defence planning and local residents.

She also said the Environment Department will also reassess how it calculates flood risk.

Meanwhile, Floods Minister Rory Stewart visited Sandylands Methodist Church in Kendal on Saturday, where around 1,400 homes have been flooded. The church has been one of many acting as a flood recovery centre.

The Revd Jonny Gios, from Sandylands Methodist, said: "The purpose of my bringing Rory here today was to highlight the issues and that we don't get forgotten as a town, and to help push for Government money to get back on our feet."

"People are sofa surfing at the moment. They are in Travelodges and are being told you need to be out next week."

Elsewhere in northern Britain Revd Caroline Hewlett, the vicar of Swaledale and Arkengarthdale parish in Yorkshire, told Premier just how badly the rain and snow has been affecting her:

"We only have one main road up the dale... and over the last few weeks that road has been flooded and we've two landslips as well, one of which closed the road, and one of which left us with trees in the middle of the road.

"I've not been able to get to Muker, which is my furthest away church of the dale, for the last three Sundays because of the road conditions.

"I'm hoping I can get there this afternoon for their crib service at 4 o'clock, but I will wait for a phone call from them.

"Arkengarthdale Church is about halfway up Arkengarthdale, a lot of the people who go to that church live up on the hills and farm up on the hills and they've not been able to get out this morning... so we've decided not to have the service there this morning.

"We don't like cancelling services and we try not to but sometimes you just have to be sensible and take care."

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Revd Caroline Hewlett:

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