It’s two years since unprecedented flooding hit the Upper Calder Valley, including Hebden Bridge, and one year since the flooding in Walsden.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will mark these anniversaries with a review of the progress which has been made to reduce the risk and impact of future flooding in the Upper Calder Valley.
In the aftermath of the floods the Calderdale Flood Recovery Programme was launched as a partnership led by Calderdale Council which includes the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and local community groups.
The first phase was to respond and deal with the immediate recovery and repair works after the floods, which finished in March 2013. Phase 2, from April 2013 to March 2014, saw recovery work continue and the production of a detailed programme of work.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said:
“Since July 2012 just over 1200 properties in Calderdale have been damaged by floods. The repair bill was over £3 million and this doesn’t take into account the impact on people’s lives and on the community. The work we are doing is essential to improve our flood defences and make our communities more resilient.
“We have done a great deal of research to understand why the flooding happened, where we are vulnerable and what solutions we can provide to give better defence to these areas in the future. We are now into Phase 3 of our programme, which is about longer term investment. This will start with the delivery of around 10 flood risk reduction schemes, worth £3 million. The work will protect over 400 homes, 150 businesses and the transport routes which are so vital to support them.”
The contract to deliver the schemes will be awarded in summer 2014, with work starting on site in October. Details of each scheme will be available on the Calderdale Council website in July. The programme will be delivered by the Environment Agency, in partnership with Calderdale Council, using grant in aid funding from Defra, local levy and the Council funds.
Throughout the summer there will be public drop in sessions around the Upper Calder Valley so that people can comment on the schemes. Assessment work is continuing to monitor the performance of existing flood defences and feasibility work is also underway on longer term flood alleviation schemes for Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.
The Calderdale Flood Recovery Programme is also working with local people to help them feel better prepared, with a grant from Defra of £310,000.
Homes and businesses are being surveyed by the programme to identify which require additional protection against future flooding and to gather evidence of any issues on the availability and affordability of flood insurance.
To help communities respond swiftly in the future, a website is being developed which will act as a single source of information during a flood emergency and which can be updated locally as needed. Local flood groups in Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Todmorden have prepared a flood emergency plan and sites for stores of emergency flood equipment have been identified in Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge.
Local people are being encouraged to volunteer to help maintain local rivers and streams, working with Calder Future, and other local organisations.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will consider the recommendations in the report at the next meeting at 6pm on Monday 14 July at Halifax Town Hall.