Calder Valley has been sidelined in ‘disappointing’ flood report

editorial image

The flood-ravaged Calder Valley appears to have been sidelined in a new report into last winter’s devastating floods.

The long-awaited National Flood Resilience Review, assessing how the country could be better protected, was released last week and outlines a £12.5m plan for temporary defences.

Boxing day flood in Hebden Bridge. Albert Street and New Road under water.

Boxing day flood in Hebden Bridge. Albert Street and New Road under water.

But there are no specific proposals targeted at the valley, which was used as a “survey area” in the report.

The chairman of a partnership set up to improve the economic life of Hebden Bridge, one of the areas most affected by last winter’s floods, described the government report on the disaster as “shockingly disappointing”.

Bob Deacon said a huge amount of work had gone on in Hebden Bridge and other Calder Valley communities on changing the management of the surrounding moorland.

But Mr Deacon, who chairs the Hebden Bridge Partnership, said: “There are only two sentences about all that - on the last page.”

He said: “An opportunity has simply not been taken to assess this impact. It’s abysmal. It’s really shocking.”

Mr Deacon said he had been hoping the review would include a discussion of measures to give water companies a legal duty to reduce flood risks.

He said: “As a policy issue, it’s simply not there. It’s quite shockingly disappointing.”

The National Flood Resilience Review outlines £12.5m for temporary defences such as barriers and water pumps at strategic locations around the country. It also sets out a new stress test of the risk of flooding from rivers and seas. The Government said it would use the evidence to plan investment in flood defences after 2021. It has already committed £2.5bn between 2015 and 2021 to strengthen flood and coastal defences, as well as spending £1bn on maintaining defences, officials said.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker welcomed the review, but questioned Calderdale Council’s commitment to the issue.

He said: “The additional funding announced for temporary flood defences is welcome as this will provide the Environment Agency with four times the number of temporary barriers they had compared to last year. The Government’s commitment to the Calder Valley is steadfast with the allocation of around £50 million for flood defences and £25 million for infrastructure repairs having already been announced.

“The Environment Agency is also progressing well with its plans for a full flood prevention model for Mytholmroyd with work due to commence in the next few months. It is also on course to release the wider catchment plan for Calderdale at the end of next month.

“The only doubt in all of these plans is how much of a priority flooding is to Calderdale Council. We still wait to see how much of the £189m they have had over the last four years for capital projects will be allocated towards flood defences as to date, they have only made a paltry £1.5m available.”

l What do you think? Email todnews@todmordennews.co.uk/hbtimes@hebdenbridgetimes.co.uk