Council’s Cabinet to discuss major report into summer 2012 floods

On Monday 8 April 2013, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will discuss a report into the flooding which devastated parts of the Upper Calder Valley in summer 2012.

The report details the three-phase approach taken by the Council and other organisations into tackling the floods which hit Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd last June, July and August.

Significant progress has been made during the first phase of flood recovery. Momentum needs to continue with the delivery of phase two of the process between April 2013 and March 2014. This will involve ongoing short-term works and detailed assessment to produce a plan of longer-term works to reduce the impact of future flooding.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Cllr Barry Collins, says:

“Phase two of the flood recovery work is about to start, and will last a year. The resulting flood investment plan will be highly detailed and will cover the work required for the next eight to 10 years.

“During the next year we aim to increase community flood resilience; continue to gather and share flood evidence and establish the causes of local flooding; deliver short-term investments from the Council, Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and Canal & River Trust; and lobby for additional resources to deliver the full flood investment plan.”

Councillors will be told that the floods on 22 June, 9 July and 25 August 2012 cost more than £3m in repairs, with the Council’s costs being around £1.5m. Extensive future investment is required to improve flood defences in the area.

The floods were amongst the most extensive and damaging in the Upper Calder Valley in recent memory. The June river flood was classed as a 1 in 75 year event whilst the two surface water floods in July and August caused considerable damage, especially around Hebden Bridge.

Immediately after the floods, the Council put into place the Calderdale Community Recovery Framework – a process to deal with the aftermath of emergency events. The aim was to return demands on public services to normal levels; to reinstate business activity and tourism to previous levels; and to ensure that damaged infrastructure was reinstated. The Council also established a Flood Recovery and Resilience Team in September, to co-ordinate the continuing multi-agency flood response and to lead post-floods planning.

The report to Cabinet details the works which were carried out in four main activity areas: business; environment and infrastructure; communities and communications. It also details the reports which were required by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 into the specific causes of the flooding.

The June flood saw surface water overloading the Rochdale Canal; water from the canal and the River Calder flooding surrounding areas; sewer flooding in Rochdale, Halifax and Burnley Roads; watercourses flooding roads and the rail line; the River Calder overtopping flood defences; and hillside water run-off causing flooding in Walsden.

The main causes of the July and August floods were excessive rainfall exceeding the capability of sewers and road drains; surface water run-off into the canal causing it to flood; and hillside water run-off causing significant damage to drains, roads, footpaths and properties.

Nationally there were around 8,000 households across Britain affected by flooding in 2012; the 900 Calderdale homes which were affected represent 11per cent of the national total. An additional 250 businesses in Calderdale were also affected.

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