AN MP has told a government minister to find the millions of pounds needed to install flood defences to protect homes in an area of Bolton repeatedly deluged by water.

Yasmin Qureshi has told environment department under-secretary Rebecca Pow that every heavy rainfall causes residents in Prestolee and Stoneclough ‘fear and constant worry’.

Twenty-two homeowners were left counting the cost when Storm Ciara caused the River Irwell to burst its banks this weekend in a repeat of the Boxing Day floods of 2015.

Residents have accused the government of doing nothing to protect them.

Bolton South-East MP Ms Qureshi is now to follow up her February 4 letter to Mrs Pow by collecting a petition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding action.

She said yesterday:“This weekend’s events from Storm Ciara show why these new flood defences are urgent and essential.”

Following a meeting with Environment Agency officials, Ms Qureshi tells Mrs Pow: “Every time there is heavy rainfall, and the River Irwell levels are high, the residents fear it will happen all over again and the constant worry is making some residents ill.

“It is now over four years since the major floods on Boxing Day 2015 and proposed flood defences have not yet been installed owing to a lack of funding. The residents believe that the Government is prioritising schemes which affect larger numbers of properties, and so Prestolee keeps getting pushed further and further back.

“The EA has worked very hard to come up with proposals for flood defences.

“Both the residents and the EA are keen to get construction under way as soon as possible.

“However, until funding is forthcoming, no construction work can begin. Should funding become available immediately, the earliest they would be able to begin construction would be spring 2021. It is too difficult to install temporary defences owing to a lack of space.

“The ideal solution would be to build flood walls on both sides of the river, as some properties on the south side of the river also flooded. However, a flood wall on the north side, adjacent to Riverside Drive, is far more urgent. The EA has informed me it will cost in the region of £4m for a wall on either side of the river, or approximately £3m for just the north side of the river.

“I urge you to provide the EA with the funding it needs to complete the flood defence work as a matter of urgency.

“I would welcome a meeting and invite you to visit Prestolee to view the site for yourself.”