Storm latest • Largest rainfall ever • Evidence of climatic change • More to come in future

The flash floods and storms that hit Cumbria are something we'll see more of, unless action is taken to deal with global warming, says Envoronment Agency head.

The Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, Paul Leinster, told Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning (1:08:23):

“I believe we are seeing climatic change, yes, and I think that the sorts of storms and the increased rain that we’re seeing is the sort of thing that we will see more of in the future.”

He added:

“This is the largest amount of rainfall that we have ever seen in a 24-hour period, so, yes, we keep the records, but, every now and again, the records get broken, and this is one of the occasions, this was a record-breaking event.”

The Met Office confirmed a record 12.3 inches of rain fell in 24 hours in the area — the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the UK.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn told the BBC that flood defences were meant to withstand a one-in-100-years flood — but could not cope with the volume of water.

Mr Benn said:

“What we dealt with last night was probably more like one-in-a-1,000, so even the very best defences, if you have such quantities of rain in such a short space of time, can be over-topped”

The Met Office said the amount of rain expected for all of November fell in one day. During severe floods in the UK in 2007 the Prime Minister had also made the climate link.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.