Following the storms we have had in the past week, please see below an update on the work I have been doing.

This has been a worrying time and I know that a lot of people were worried about the possibility of further flooding. The following numbers are useful to save should you ever need any support:

· Northern Powergrid national helpline 105
· Barnsley Council 01226 773555
· Yorkshire Water 0345 124 2424
· Bernslai Homes 01226 775555
· In an emergency call 999

Flooding has had a devastating impact on many people locally, and as both the Member of Parliament and as the former Shadow Minister for Flooding, I have been pushing for further action on this issue as a matter of urgency for over 2 years.

After the terrible flooding in 2019, I have been in close contact with Barnsley Council, Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and the Mayor of South Yorkshire, Dan Jarvis. We have been working together in order to shore up the flood defences across the region. This has led to the Connected by Water Action Plan, which was formally launched at the end of January.

Connected by Water is a partnership project with organisations across the region including the South Yorkshire Mayoral Authority, Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency, Barnsley Council, Doncaster Council, Rotherham Council and Sheffield Council.

This is a long-term and coordinated response to protect our communities from flooding. The plan combines 144 actions and 100 projects and, at the moment, a total investment of £400 million. This will help protect over 17,000 homes, businesses and infrastructure across South Yorkshire. In Barnsley, work on projects totaling £17.2 million is due to start in the next few months. Wombwell and Low Valley are amongst the first areas to be prioritised in our area.

During the launch of the plan, I raised the importance of affordable insurance for those who live and have businesses in high flood risk areas to Yorkshire Water and to the Environment Agency. Too many people still cannot get the insurance they need because the premiums are too high. Work is being done with insurance companies to change this however it is not happening quickly enough. I also raised this issue again in Parliament yesterday to Kwasi Kwarteng, the Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. You can watch my question to the Minister here.

If you would like to have your say about future projects, the Environment Agency is asking members of the public to give their views on the Connected by Water plan. You can find the online survey here, the consultation will end on the 11th March.

I will continue to post updates on any further developments and if I can support you with anything in the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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