Flood fund of £65m will be ‘insufficient’

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  • Final findings of Calderdale Flood Commission report
  • Independent review set up to investigate causes, impact and response of Boxing Day Floods in 2015

An independent review into the causes, impact and response to the Boxing Day floods has revealed that the £65m earmarked for repairs and defences ‘will inevitably be insufficient’.

The Calderdale Flood Commission has said there needs to be significant investment in flood risk management in Calderdale and the level of funding currently available ‘must be seen as only a first step’.

The capacity and capability of staff in key organisations and communities needs to be developed to meet the scale of the challenge ahead. Without this, attempts to manage flood risk will inevitably fail, however ambitious they are.

Calderdale Flood Commission report

The final report states: “The current increased level of funding is welcomed but must be seen as only a first step. We don’t know yet what the true overall costs will be, but require commitment from funders to meet the needs as they emerge. This investment is likely to be necessary for a number of years.

“In addition, the capacity and capability of staff in key organisations and communities needs to be developed to meet the scale of the challenge ahead. Without this, attempts to manage flood risk will inevitably fail, however ambitious they are.”

The Council’s Local flood Risk Management Strategy shows that £62m has come from external funding and £3m from Calderdale’s Flood recovery and resilience will be used to help with flood repairs and defences.

The commission says that measures also need to be delivered by national government, its agencies and other organisations.

These include to introduce flood risk insurance for small, medium and large businesses as a matter of urgency.

It should also be requested that a proportion of the central funds to encourage tourism in the North be cascaded down to Calderdale and its constituent towns.

Independent Chair of the Flood Commission, and Chief Executive of the National Flood Forum, Paul Cobbing said: “We all know that the Calder Valley is particularly vulnerable to flooding; but, due to climate change, the threat of more severe and more frequent flood events is increasing.

“We have reached a cross roads in our approach to tackling this problem. We believe the solutions we implement today must not just tackle risk as it exists now; they must also take into account the increasing year-on-year risk.

“By working together, we need to increase the resilience of communities throughout the valleys, so that the risk of flooding reduces year on year. But we also need to recognise that flooding will happen again and together, we must reduce the devastation to communities which followed in the wake of Storm Eva and help people recover more quickly.

“As part of this we must lead by example, and we can do this not just by ensuring that flood risk management measures will better protect our communities now and in the future, but also by reducing our own impact on the environment and reducing our own carbon emissions.

“Reducing flood risk in the Calder Valley does not begin or end with this report, but we hope and believe that the recommendations of the Flood Commission will contribute significantly to improving the lives of communities throughout the Calder Valley.”

Mr Cobbing will present the final report, with recommendations to Calderdale Council at 6pm on Wednesday July 20 at Halifax Town Hall.