Council leader slams government response to floods

A man wades through flood waters at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
A man wades through flood waters at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, where flood sirens were sounded after torrential downpours. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
3
Have your say

The leader of Calderdale Council has accused the government of creating a north/south divide in the way it deals with flooding in UK communities.

Coun Tim Swift also spoke of the importance in planning for the future and working to prevent flooding closer to the source of the River Calder.

He said: “The scope of this is much bigger than the flooding itself.

“We have been looking at different ways of how we can help Calderdale to recover. We will have to make our case to the government for financial help.

“The lesson we have learned here is that we need to put in a long-term plan to help communities recover then invest in defences.”

“We need a different approach,” he added. “We need to reduce the risk of flooding to protect the infrastructure. We need to minimise the risk of this happening again.

He hinted at a north/south divide in the way the government reacts to floods, comparing the little support Calderdae got during the floods of 2012 with big funding the government gave to the south of England in 2013.

“We were very clear after 2012 that the government needed to provide greater support to Calderdale.

“But in 2012 we got very little financial help from them. Compare this with the floods in Somerset in 2013, when the government pumped large amounts of money – quite rightly – into getting communities back on their feet. They said money was no object.

“The challenge now is to make sure they do the same for us.”

He went on to suggest that flood defences could begin further up the Calder Valley to help the water to drain away before it reached the towns further along the river.

“We are looking at tree planting at the source,” he said. “There needs to be a lot more done about this.”