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Villagers hit out at local council as they pull together to survive the waist-deep deluge

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Villagers whose homes have been swamped with waist-deep floodwater yesterday accused the authorities of abandoning them.

Fishlake, near Doncaster, was cut off by its worst flooding in living memory when the River Don burst its banks.

About 700 residents were told to evacuate over the weekend after nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in a single day.

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Fishlake (pictured coffins floating inside a flooded funeral home), near Doncaster, was cut off by its worst flooding in living memory when the River Don burst its banks

Fishlake (pictured coffins floating inside a flooded funeral home), near Doncaster, was cut off by its worst flooding in living memory when the River Don burst its banks

Fishlake (pictured coffins floating inside a flooded funeral home), near Doncaster, was cut off by its worst flooding in living memory when the River Don burst its banks

But many said by the time flood warnings had been issued and sandbags handed out, it was already too late to save their properties from the flood.

And they said they have since been left with ‘no support’ on the ground from the local council.

After the weather brought chaos to parts of Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and with little sign of the water subsiding last night, it is likely to be days until residents can start to examine the damage.

About 700 residents were told to evacuate over the weekend (pictured, in Fishlake) after nearly a month's worth of rain fell in a single day

About 700 residents were told to evacuate over the weekend (pictured, in Fishlake) after nearly a month's worth of rain fell in a single day

About 700 residents were told to evacuate over the weekend (pictured, in Fishlake) after nearly a month’s worth of rain fell in a single day

But with forecasters warning of more heavy rain in the North today and tomorrow, there were fears that other communities could be devastated too.

In Fishlake, which yesterday remained accessible only by boat or tractor, residents were clubbing together to provide hot food and drinking water for families who had been unwilling to leave their homes and farmers caring for livestock.

Louise Holling, who owns The Old Butchers cafe, said: ‘We’re giving out coffee and bacon sandwiches to everyone who wants them, but we’ve had no support at all from Doncaster Council. 

Many said by the time flood warnings had been issued and sandbags handed out, it was already too late to save their properties from the flood (pictured)

Many said by the time flood warnings had been issued and sandbags handed out, it was already too late to save their properties from the flood (pictured)

Many said by the time flood warnings had been issued and sandbags handed out, it was already too late to save their properties from the flood (pictured)

In Fishlake, which yesterday remained accessible only by boat or tractor, residents were clubbing together to provide hot food and drinking water for families who had been unwilling to leave their homes and farmers caring for livestock. Pictured: Mark Sengelon's flood hit home in Fishlake, South Yorkshire

In Fishlake, which yesterday remained accessible only by boat or tractor, residents were clubbing together to provide hot food and drinking water for families who had been unwilling to leave their homes and farmers caring for livestock. Pictured: Mark Sengelon's flood hit home in Fishlake, South Yorkshire

In Fishlake, which yesterday remained accessible only by boat or tractor, residents were clubbing together to provide hot food and drinking water for families who had been unwilling to leave their homes and farmers caring for livestock. Pictured: Mark Sengelon’s flood hit home in Fishlake, South Yorkshire

‘My house is one of the few which wasn’t flooded. We’ve had 15 people staying. We can’t understand why the floods were so bad. There are people who have lived in the village for 90 years and they’ve never seen anything like it.’

Linda Bushell said she received a flood alert text message from the Environment Agency only after the water was in her house. 

‘It’s completely under water,’ she said. ‘Everything is just floating about in my garden.’

Builder Mark Sengelow, 47, woke up on Saturday morning to find his house filled with 2ft of water. He said: ‘It stinks. There’s debris and sewage in it. It was heartbreaking to see the house ruined.’

A few miles upstream from Fishlake, in Bentley, specialist engineers from 170 Engineering Group were called in yesterday to offer advice, confirmed the Army.

On Twitter The Army also said a Chinook helicopter from the military’s Joint Helicopter Command ‘will soon be on task with aggregate used for strengthening the flood defences protecting homes’.

A few miles upstream from Fishlake, in Bentley, specialist engineers from 170 Engineering Group (pictured) were called in yesterday to offer advice, confirmed the Army

A few miles upstream from Fishlake, in Bentley, specialist engineers from 170 Engineering Group (pictured) were called in yesterday to offer advice, confirmed the Army

A few miles upstream from Fishlake, in Bentley, specialist engineers from 170 Engineering Group (pictured) were called in yesterday to offer advice, confirmed the Army

On Twitter The Army also said a Chinook from the military's Joint Helicopter Command 'will soon be on task with aggregate used for strengthening the flood defences protecting homes'

On Twitter The Army also said a Chinook from the military's Joint Helicopter Command 'will soon be on task with aggregate used for strengthening the flood defences protecting homes'

Pictured: The Chinook

Pictured: The Chinook

On Twitter The Army also said a Chinook helicopter (left and right) from the military’s Joint Helicopter Command ‘will soon be on task with aggregate used for strengthening the flood defences protecting homes’

The home of the UK’s Chinook force, RAF Odiham shared, photos of helicopters dropping aggregate bags close to Doncaster.

In the nearby market town of Stainforth, residents were providing supplies and support to families who had abandoned their homes.

Mother-of-five Amy Grant, 27, said: ‘We’ve had donations from Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s but absolutely nothing from Doncaster Council. It’s terrible.’

Doncaster Council insisted its staff had been working around the clock to help people affected by flooding, while an RAF Chinook helicopter had been drafted in to shore up flood defences.

Chief executive Damian Allen said: ‘The council is unable to offer on-the-ground support to residents who are in severe flood warning areas, based on advice from the Environment Agency.

‘We have set up a dedicated rest centre for all Fishlake residents in neighbouring Stainforth, where council officers are on hand to offer dedicated support, advice and guidance.’

Seven severe ‘danger to life’ flood warnings remained in place last night, all along the River Don in Yorkshire, along with 40 active flood warnings.

Dan Greenslade, 34, and Jade Croft, 29

Dan Greenslade, 34, and Jade Croft, 29

Dan Greenslade, 34, and Jade Croft, 29

New baby… but parents can’t bring her home

New parents Dan Greenslade, 34, and Jade Croft, 29, have been unable to get back to their home in Fishlake since their daughter’s birth on Friday.

The couple had spent around £5,000 renovating their £180,000 end of terrace house ahead of the arrival of their first child, Indie.

They are staying with Jade’s parents in nearby Hatfield but are unsure when they will be able to return and Mr Greenslade, a marketing manager, fears their possessions will have been ruined.

‘All the baby clothes and things are in the house and we can’t get back to get them,’ he said. ‘It’s devastating.’

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Using a barbecue in Sydney could lead to jail time and a $5,500 fine

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Australians could be jailed and stung with a fine for using barbecues this summer.

The strict penalties apply in Sydney for people using a wood or coal-fired barbecue without proper provisions for putting fires out.

Lighting a fire would result in a fine of $2,200 but if the matter is taken to court, people could face a year in jail and be fined up to $5,500. 

Sydneysiders could face 12 months in jail and be slapped with a $5,500 fine for using a barbeque during a statewide total fire ban (stock image)

Sydneysiders could face 12 months in jail and be slapped with a $5,500 fine for using a barbeque during a statewide total fire ban (stock image)

Sydneysiders could face 12 months in jail and be slapped with a $5,500 fine for using a barbeque during a statewide total fire ban (stock image)  

Australians who start a fire, which spreads, hurts a person or destroys property during the ban will be slapped with a maximum fine of $132,000.

Additionally, they could also face 14 years behind bars.  

Total fire bans in Sydney are implemented by the NSW Rural Fire Service, during extremely hot weather and when bushfires are happening. 

Under the ban, it is illegal to light, maintain or use a fire in the open or to carry out any activity outdoors, which is likely to cause a blaze. 

A statewide total fire ban has been declared for Monday and Tuesday, following the devastating blazes, which ravaged the NSW mid north coast on Saturday afternoon. 

But using an electric barbecue for cooking is permitted under the supervision of an adult.

Gas barbecues can also be used on the conditions there is adult supervision, no combustible material within two metres, and an immediate and continuous supply of water.  

The gas barbecue must also be within 20m of a home or be at a designated picnic area and be approved by the council, national parks or state forest.

Total fire bans are declared during extremely hot weather and if bushfires are happening (pictured: a firefighter fights a blaze at a property in Torrington, near Glen Innes, NSW on Sunday)

Total fire bans are declared during extremely hot weather and if bushfires are happening (pictured: a firefighter fights a blaze at a property in Torrington, near Glen Innes, NSW on Sunday)

Total fire bans are declared during extremely hot weather and if bushfires are happening (pictured: a firefighter fights a blaze at a property in Torrington, near Glen Innes, NSW on Sunday)

Permits are suspended during a total fire ban. 

Some activities involving fire can be exempt during the bans, such as emergency infrastructure work, bee hive smokers or ceremonial fires.

The exemptions are detailed in the NSW Government Gazette each time a total fire ban is declared.  

TOTAL FIRE BAN RULES IN NSW 

What is a total fire ban?  

A total fire ban means no fires out in the open to prevent a potential blaze from starting. 

You cannot light, maintain or use a fire in the open or carry out any activity outdoors likely to cause a blaze. 

Can I use a barbecue or pizza oven?

Using a barbecue or pizza oven which burns solid fuel such as wood, charcoal or heat beads is banned. 

Permits are suspended during the ban but can be used after the restriction is lifted. 

What barbecues are allowed to be used?

You can use an electric barbecue given there is adult supervision and no combustible material within two metres. 

You can use a gas barbecue under the following conditions: 

– Adult supervision

– No combustible material within two metres

– Immediate and continuous supply of water 

– Used within 20 metres of a private dwelling such as a home 

– Is within a designated picnic area and is approved by the council, national parks of state forest 

What are the penalties? 

Persons lighting a fire can incur an on the spot fine of $2,200. 

If the matter is taken to court, they could face 12 years in jail and/or a $5,500 fine. 

A fire started which spreads, hurts a person or damages property or the environment can lead to a $132,000 fine and/or 14 months in jail. 

What are the exemptions during a Total Fire Ban? 

A range of activities may be exempt during the ban such as emergency infrastructure work, bee hive smokers, mining operations, sugar can harvesting, use of fire works or ceremonial fires. 

The exemptions are datailed in the NSW Government Gazette every time a Total Fire Ban is declared.  

Can I apply for a Total Fire Ban exemption? 

If you want to light a fire or carry out an activity which could lead to one, you can check the Government Gazette to see if there is a standard exemption that applies to your situation. 

If the standard exemptions don’t cover your circumstances then you may apply for a specific exemption by filling out a Total Fire Ban application form. 

You will be notified if your application is approved or declined.  

 

Source: NSW Rural Fire Service 

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State of emergency declared for NSW

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NSW has declared a state of emergency for seven days starting immediately as bushfires rage across the state.

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott warned residents were facing what “could be the most dangerous bushfire week this nation has ever seen”.

The NSW fires have claimed three lives and so far destroyed more than 150 homes.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the last time a state of emergency was declared in the state was 2013 when there were extensive bushfires in the Blue Mountains.

Ms Berejiklian warned people to “for heaven’s sake, stay away from bushland” on Tuesday.

“The catastrophic weather conditions mean that things can change very quickly,” she told reporters on Monday.

“You might think you’re OK and a few minutes later you won’t be. Please heed all the messages you receive. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is not the day to be complacent.”

Mr Elliott said the state of emergency was precautionary but necessary.

“We have tools like state of emergency available to us to ensure there is no legal barrier, there are no operational barriers, to ensure that the people of the Rural Fire Service (can) do what they’re meant to do,” the minister said.

There are currently 60 fires burning across NSW with more than half uncontained.

“Catastrophic is off the conventional scale,” RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

“We are talking about indices that go well beyond the old scale of 100.”

The blazes are raging from the northern border with Queensland down to the mid-north coast, out to the state’s central west and south toward the Illawarra.

Catastrophic fire danger has been declared for the Sydney and Hunter regions on Tuesday with severe and extreme danger across vast tracts of the rest of the state.

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Boris Johnson vows to change human rights law to protect soldiers who served in Northern Ireland

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Boris Johnson last night vowed to change the law to protect Northern Ireland veterans.

On the eve of Armistice Day, he unveiled a plan to end a legal ‘witch-hunt’ against our former soldiers and told them: ‘We will always support you.’

The Prime Minister wants to amend the Human Rights Act so that it does not apply to any incidents before it came into force in October 2000.

It would end the obligation on the authorities to investigate veterans, many now in their 60s, who served during the Troubles.

The Prime Minister (pictured) wants to amend the Human Rights Act so that it does not apply to any incidents before it came into force in October 2000

Ben Wallace said the ‘Armed Forces have been subject to rulings by British courts which have led to the law being weaponised against our Armed Forces.’

He said it was ‘illogical to apply improper extensions of human rights law’ when the law of armed conflict already applies to military operations.

Mr Wallace said the Tories would ‘end the unfair trials of people who served their country when no new evidence has been produced and when the accusations have already been exhaustively questioned in court’ it added.

Ahead of a trip to the Black Country today, Mr Johnson said: ‘If I’m elected on the 12th December, I want the message from my Government to our Armed Forces to be louder and clearer than ever: we salute you and we will always support you.’

Ben Wallace (pictured) said the 'Armed Forces have been subject to rulings by British courts which have led to the law being weaponised against our Armed Forces'

Ben Wallace (pictured) said the 'Armed Forces have been subject to rulings by British courts which have led to the law being weaponised against our Armed Forces'

Ben Wallace (pictured) said the ‘Armed Forces have been subject to rulings by British courts which have led to the law being weaponised against our Armed Forces’

In 2017 Theresa May announced plans to prevent troops being investigated in future conflicts following a campaign by the Daily Mail.

Today’s announcement is a huge victory for ex-soldiers who have faced years of uncertainty.

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer said: ‘The Armed Forces has always ensured that those who break the law will be held to account – our ability to do this sets us apart from those we do battle with. There has never been a hiding place in uniform for those who cannot operate within the professional boundaries.

‘But war and conflict is changing, and so-called ‘lawfare’ is now a part of that. We must protect our service personnel accordingly.

‘With a Conservative majority government, the Law of Armed Conflict will be the appropriate and specific choice for military operations.’

Mr Mercer, a former Army captain, added: ‘The Human Rights Act will be amended to specify that it doesn’t apply to issues – including any death in the Northern Ireland Troubles – that took place before the Act came into force in October 2000. This will restore the intended scope of the Act.’

The Mail has highlighted how veterans have faced repeated investigations over alleged incidents many decades earlier. And David Petraeus, a former US general, yesterday issued an extraordinary condemnation of the legal ‘witch-hunt’. 

His comments came in a foreword to a report by the Policy Exchange think-tank published that calls on the Government to amend the Human Rights Act.

The Act gives effect to the principles set out in the European Convention on Human Rights, such as the prohibition of torture and the right to a fair trial.

It is understood that under the proposed shake-up, the Government would not be obliged to force veterans to give evidence to inquests in Northern Ireland.

Former soldiers have been before as many as 70 inquests – an experience Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said they found ‘frightening’.

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer (pictured) said: 'The Armed Forces has always ensured that those who break the law will be held to account – our ability to do this sets us apart from those we do battle with'

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer (pictured) said: 'The Armed Forces has always ensured that those who break the law will be held to account – our ability to do this sets us apart from those we do battle with'

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer (pictured) said: ‘The Armed Forces has always ensured that those who break the law will be held to account – our ability to do this sets us apart from those we do battle with’

The change would also aim to limit the number of criminal cases troops face, although details on this are unclear. It is understood the Tories are planning to bring in further reforms to ensure criminal cases are stamped out.

They have also unveiled proposals for a tax cut for businesses by scrapping their national insurance contributions for a year for each veteran they take on.

The party has pledged to provide ‘wraparound’ childcare for military families, including breakfast clubs and after-school clubs. This would cover early starts and late finishes for working parents of children aged four to 11 in an attempt to persuade women to stay in uniform.

Veterans will also be guaranteed a job interview for any public sector role they apply for in a move to overcome obstacles to employment. Mr Johnson said: ‘These measures will mean more childcare support for those who are currently serving.

‘And it will mean that we harness the enormous contribution that veterans can make to our businesses and public sector organisations.’

Mr Wallace added: ‘In the days of advanced technology and automation it is easy to forget that the most important equipment in the Armed Forces are the men and women serving. This policy demonstrates our commitment to them and is a recognition of the pressures they face.’

Jeremy Corbyn has also announced a series of reforms, pledging decent housing for the military and their families and better access to schools.

Labour says that it will consult on creating a body similar to the Police Federation to give a ‘voice’ to servicemen and women. 

US general condemns witch-hunt  

By Larisa Brown Defence and Security Editor 

A former US general today blasts Britain’s ‘unfair’ legal witch-hunt against soldiers and veterans.

General David Petraeus, who led coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, will say it is appalling that troops who served in Northern Ireland remain exposed to the risk of prosecution decades on.

His intervention comes in a report by a think-tank resisting the ‘judicialisation’ of war. General Petraeus wrote: ‘British soldiers are increasingly subject to a different legal regime than are their American counterparts.’ 

The former CIA chief said the extension of the European Convention on Human Rights to the battlefield had made ‘extensive litigation against British soldiers inevitable’, adding: ‘This, in turn, risks promoting a culture of risk aversion in the ranks.

‘The unfair pursuit of British soldiers and veterans in the aftermath of operations is particularly concerning. This has caused enormous stress and anxiety on those who are caught up in investigations, sometimes years or even decades after their combat service.

‘The extent to which those who served decades ago in Northern Ireland, including the highly distinguished soldier-scholar General Sir Frank Kitson, remain exposed to legal risk is striking and appalling.

‘This is not only unfair to those who have served and sacrificed for their country, it also gravely undermines the morale of those serving now and raises an unnecessary concern for potential recruits.’

Professor Richard Ekins and Julie Marionneau, who wrote the Policy Exchange report, say ministers must maintain the policy of derogating from the ECHR in future battles, as promised by the Tory party.

The pair also argue that the Human Rights Act must be amended.

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