A spokesman for the firm told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The United Biscuits factory in Carlisle was closed on Saturday [December 5] evening due to the floods following heavy rain in the area and remains closed until further notice.”
All the manufacturer’s employees were safe and the factory had now been secured. “The local water levels are now starting to subside and once we have clear access, we will be able to update further on a planned timetable for the clean up operation and subsequent resumption of production and fulfilment of orders.”
‘Enthusiastic offers of help’
The spokesman added that the company’s thoughts were with the thousands of people in Cumbria affected by the floods. “The company greatly appreciates the positive attitude and enthusiastic offers of help from the local employees and their colleagues across United Biscuits to resume business as usual,” he said.
Elsewhere in Cumbria and other parts of the north, sheep have reportedly been drowned by rising flood waters.
About 40 sheep were rescued by firemen near Welshpool, Powys, when the River Severn burst its banks.
The Scottish Borders and north Northumberland have also suffered severe flooding.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has pleaded for urgent government help, after warning Storm Desmond was threatening UK food production.
“We have been given reports locally of cereals crops being destroyed and cattle being moved to higher ground to prevent huge losses to livestock. Reports have been received of sheep being lost to the flooding in some areas.”
- Meurig Raymond, NFU president
NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “Members have reported major incidents such as landslides which have wreaked havoc with their farmland, they have also told us of power cuts which have made running the business almost impossible, and have raised concerns about scheduled dairy collections and animal feed deliveries, which may be lost.
“We have been given reports locally of cereals crops being destroyed and cattle being moved to higher ground to prevent huge losses to livestock.”
Swept to his death
In County Monaghan, Northern Ireland a 70-year old man was swept to his death in flood water on Sunday (December 6).
Environment secretary Liz Truss chaired an emergency Cobra (Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms) meeting on Sunday dedicated to the government’s response the crisis.
Truss said: “Unprecedented levels of rainfall mean that the water in some areas has risen to levels never seen before.”
More than 100 flood warnings and alerts remain in place in England and Wales, with over 20 in Scotland.
Meanwhile, further rain is forecast today [December 9] in the north and west.